Monday, February 1, 2010

Movie Review: Bright Star

So for those of you with a Netflix account in high rotation like mine, you may have noticed in the New Releases a period romance called Bright Star. The film is directed by Jane Campion who has directed other period dramas such as The Piano and Portrait of a Lady.

Now I rather enjoyed the film, but be warned if you have no interest in period dramas or poetry .... you will probably hate this movie. So just do yourself a favor and skip the review, and delete this movie from your Netflix cue. This is by no means some life changing movie that will make you think twice about your taste for the genre. But for the small minority of people out there who do enjoy this sort of thing, I would highly recommend the film.

The story follows the love interest/muse of the (in my humble opinion) the greatest of the Romantic poets, John Keats. At the time Keats is a penniless writer, his love interest Fanny is urged to hold out for a more wealthy suitor, Keats gets tuberculosis.... and since this real life vs. a Jane Austen novel ... their quixotic affair doesn't exactly end happily. But what separates this film from the many ... many superfluous formulaic romantic comedies out there is the actual pace of the romance itself. It is quiet, tender, and very slow by our 2010 instant gratification terms. I think for some this could translate in to slowness of plot, but I didn't find it as such. There is no steam in this one - PG rating for sure. But thats one of the things I found refreshing - it was all very realistic to the time. With a slow build and its abrupt end, their affair struck me as extremely passionate on a deep emotional level.

Campion highlighted snippets of their letters to each other, and this reminded me of my occasional longing of a simpler time. A time when lovers couldn't hide behind pithy text messages or Facebook chat; but rather since they were often separated by great distance for long periods of time, they had to communicate what they felt in actual letters. Not a brusque "how was your weekend?!" email... REAL letters... Letters that didn't just recount what happened last 'weekend', but how these things made you feel, what did they make you think about? Thoughts, feelings, concerns.... shocking concepts by todays typical standards of courtship. And these said letters were written with REAL words. Descriptive words that had actual meaning. No ttyl's, no lol's, no luv ya's. It was a time when people welcomed the idea of romance, and weren't afraid of communicating feelings in fear of "freaking the other person out"or constantly playing cat and mouse games to entrap the other's affections while still remaining "in control".

Just read this sonnet that Keats wrote (supposedly) for her:

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death

Sigh..... I've always loved Keats.... heartbreakingly beautiful isn't it?

No? Oh well... there's always the non-stop loop of Jersey Shore to watch on MTV2.

(Fist pump)

1 comment:

  1. 1) It looks like a good movie
    2) for romance poetry I'm a Samuel Coleridge guy (but The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is one of my favorite poems period so I'm biased)
    3) Sometimes you just gotta beat that beat back and that's the situation...