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Bright Star
Bright Star
Actors: Abbie Cornish, Ben Whishaw
Genres: Drama
PG     2010     1hr 59min

From Jane Campion, Academy Award winner of The Piano, comes a sweeping love story that will carry you back through time to experience the passion and romance between acclaimed poet, John Keats and his beloved muse. London ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Abbie Cornish, Ben Whishaw
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Love & Romance
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 01/26/2010
Original Release Date: 01/01/2009
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2009
Release Year: 2010
Run Time: 1hr 59min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 10
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Sheryl B. (Momof2boys)
Reviewed on 6/14/2010...
I was really looking forward to this movie, and was utterly disappointed. While trailers for the movie and the synosis states that the main characters fall deeply and madly in love, I just didn't see it. In my opinion, this movie made Fanny Brawn look like an impudent teenager, not someone I should have had sympathy for. I also got the feeling from the movie that Fanny was much more in love with John than he was with her, and I don't think that that was the intention. I honestly believe that this movie missed the mark on what could have been a great story.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Bright Star...beautiful
Jesse E. McCarthy | Athens, Greece | 10/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Through brilliant, stunning visuals and intelligent, witty dialogue, Jane Campion's Bright Star celebrates the rapture of passionate love. Using many of the Romantic John Keats' own words--captured for posterity in his poems and love letters to Fanny Brawne, his `sweet Girl'--Campion has weaved together one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen.

Rich 19th-century fabrics and breathtaking English scenery make Bright Star a sensuous pleasure to experience. But these visuals merely reflect the beauty within, the soul of this film: the love affair of Miss Brawne and Mister Keats.

Brawne is passionate about and proud of her fashionable and daring needlework, as is Keats his aspiring albeit more fine-spun poetry, and both share an ardent love of life and a longing for someone with whom to experience it completely. Theirs is the inspiring true story of the rare uniting of equals--of two strong, independent, and intelligent individuals with unique talents and dreams yet deeply matching values and desires.

The emotional, intellectual, and subtly sensual affair between Brawne and Keats is captured wonderfully in Bright Star, owing in part to the portrayal and backdrop of those closest to the lovers in their own lives, such as Keats' coarse but caring friend Charles Brown and Brawne's warm mother and endearing siblings. The obtrusively vulgar Brown serves in stark contrast to the gentlemanly Keats, whose integrity and will Brown deeply admires but cannot quite live up to in his own life, while Brawne's loving family--woven seamlessly into the storyline through their presence in scenes of playfully benevolent games, strolls, and dinner-parties--serves as foil to the equally loving yet singularly feisty Brawne. Through the meaningful and often-tender dialogue and interactions between these vivid characters, Bright Star is able to match beauty of setting with that of soul, a rare feat in a it is in life.

Now Bright Star has been attacked as sentimental by the modern, cynical skeptic, and if it were the hackneyed story of a princess and a pauper mindlessly frolicking to their "fairytale" ending, his criticism might merit a modicum of respect. But Bright Star is not a fairytale in that empty sense; for the fact is Keats died at the age of 25, and he and Brawne were anything but mindless. So unhappily for the cynic, his venom is ineffectual against this film; for in Bright Star, his normally insidious strain of attack finds its antidote: reality. Bright Star is a *true story* depicting the love affair of two exceptional souls who lived a life (however brief for Keats) of happiness *in this world*. In today's angst-ridden, often gloomy atmosphere of humility and despair--where so many either consciously diffuse or unwittingly (and tragically) breathe in the modern liberal claim of man's depravity (itself merely a mutation of the ancient Christian notion of Original Sin)--the little-known Bright Star shines through in rebellion with pride and exaltation, demanding its viewers resurrect the self-esteem and aspiration they once had as children, and should never have let die as adults.

Although Bright Star is deeply uplifting and truly benevolent, one must be prepared to leave its resplendent world tinged with a real sadness. But this sadness does not--it cannot--abide if one recalls Keats' own poetic words to Brawne (from an early love letter), which encapsulate the film's essence: passionate love for this wondrous world and one's `Bright Star' in it...

"...I almost wish we were butterflies and liv'd but three summer days--three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.""
A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever
Aceto | Meilhan Sur Garonne | 09/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"John Keats was the youngest member of the second generation of English Romantic poets. This film arrives just in time for Autumn as in his Ode:
" swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells with a sweet kernel..."
Jane Campion has given us, with the combined help of Pathe, BBC and Australia Film, the kernel of Keats in a quiet film of several small superlatives. The focus is not his biography or even his poetry, but on the slow budding of his only romance, that with Fanny Brawne.

I have never heard so much laughter from the audience for a film that is not a comedy. Not belly laughs, but knowing, happy laughter over several subtle moments. You cannot even eat popcorn, so riveted is everybody to this quiet immersion. Gentleman Brown is the brown bear, ranging about, bearing teeth, swiping great paws as foil to the tender side. He is tonic, bitter, but effective.

Never has fabric been so pervasive in a film. The use of cloth and wood in the houses opens to expansive lines of laundry flying on lines. Wind is a great animator here, rather than gunfire or other stupid explosives. Here is the zenith of English romantic poetry, when, as the great physicist, Freeman Dyson says, Science & Poetry Were Friends. Wind billows curtains, so we may feel the air here. This is the most tactile film I have seen. You feel all fabrics, all beds and grass and tree bark. Paper is still important, so you see wet ink at the instance of creation.

And then there is the lighting. Rooms are painted with color that echoes in the clothing. Fields of flowers do likewise. Fabric, paint, wood and leather all are seen as part of nature, not as some desperate rejection. The cloudy English village lets light show us rooms opening to fields and forest. Woods are great trees everywhere without end. Light breaks where no sun shines, said the poet. In the early scenes of English overcast, we might get the feel of Vermeer, but without his focus for symbolism, staging or placement. This film is painterly.
The dank weather of Vermeer is on both sides of the channel. Here, the persistent English clouds hold until that moment when first Keats and Fanny kiss. Then sunlight bathes everything.

Now we have flowers everywhere. Old roses, bulbs and fields of flowers, once again picked up in the fabrics of their clothing. All is air and open windows and sun. Poetry is natural, not an artifice. It is a force of nature. There is Mozart; music abounds as does dance. But it does so adjunctly, as a part of seeing their active, intelligent and muscular lives. There is no real soundtrack. Music is evident, obvious, essential, but not a background drone. We need to hear Keats' poetry against a silent and blooming background.
The flowers everywhere in spring and summer, and lead us to the fabulous butterfly scene. It makes cheap all the zippo crashing hollow special effects we are tired of yet used to, instead of story and voice that we here have.

Finally, we see the bottom of the Spanish Steps in Rome. If you follow the steps, straight past the fountain, down that street, you can have coffee in Keats' daily breakfast place. It is still there, friendly and inviting centuries later."
Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty
Betty | Canada | 10/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Bright Star marks Jane Campion's return to form with a period film that is delicately beautiful, poetic, haunting and a tribute to the tragic love affair between the poet John Keats and the girl who lived next door, Fanny Brawne.

Set in Regency period England, Bright Star compresses the last three years of Keats life when he fell in love and produced some of his most memorable poetic works, such as Ode to a Nightingale and Bright Star, a poem inspired by his Fanny Brawne.

The film begins when after returning from a walking tour of Scotland with his poet/playwright friend Charles Brown, Keats is invited to share Brown's half of a summer rental house with him in Hampstead, a town outside London. It is there where Keats meets Fanny Brawne and her family who eventually rent out the other half of the house.

For those who are looking for a film that delves into details of Keats life, you should be advised that this is not a biopic following Keats, but is a story that follows their romance from Fanny's point of view.

Fanny as played by Abbie Cornish is a stylish, witty and strong willed girl who finds herself drawn to the poet, and to poetry. The romance that blossoms between the two is visualized in the most tender and moving ways. The use of natural light, nature and sparse Baroque-like music evoke the purity of first love. The cinematography is reminiscent of Terrence Malick films, where the visceral beauty of the natural world is captured in long, quiet shots. Some may criticize Bright Star as being an intellectual film, but it is more of a film that needs to be experienced sensually. Like a Keats' poem, the film is a feast for the senses:

In a scene where a gentle breeze billows a window curtain, passing in rippling waves over Fanny's dress as she is lying on her bed, one cannot help but feel how the newness of first love made Fanny sensitive to every touch, taste and feel of the natural world. Moving images like this is enough to make one's heart ache with the beauty of it, and proves that Campion is a true auteur. Another memorable moment of the film involves Fanny wandering through a field of bluebells while reading one of Keats' letters to her - the hush quietness of the moment juxtaposed with the tender words and impressionistic landscape will produce for viewers what Keats described as Fanny's effect on him: a sensation of dissolving. There is also a scene involving a room full of butterflies that would make even the most cynical person swoon.

As well, much of Keats poetry is read by the actors, but the words come out of their mouths naturally. Even lines in the film that do not come from Keats' poems are often taken right from his letters, such as the line "there is a holiness to the heart's affections". For those who are unfamiliar with Keats, the dialogue in Bright Star will surely make you feel the pure joy of experiencing beautiful language, and for those who know all of his poems by heart, it will be like hearing his poetry for the first time.

Bright Star will not appeal to everyone, as it is a languid and slow paced film, but the emotional pay off at the end is worth it. Abbie Cornish is heartbreaking and luminescent as Fanny, while Whishaw manages to show Keats wittiness, seriousness and big heart (and displays his skills with reciting poetry - he has the perfect voice for it). Most notably, like in "The Piano", Campion elicits a gem of a performance from the child actress who plays Fanny's sister, Toots.

Also, although the affair between Keats and Fanny remains chaste and restrained, with plenty of sexual tension, the acting itself is full of vitality and life. Small details of the everyday shine through, the clothes look lived in, and one gets a real sense of being in a specific time and place. This isn't some stuffy period film that keeps its viewers at a distance, instead we get up close and personal with the characters. It is why while the beauty of the film is both precious and delicate, it also manages to feel natural and modern at the same time.

After watching Bright Star, like after reading a good poem, I felt tender and pure inside, or in Keats words, like I had arrived "at that trembling delicate and snail-horn perception of beauty"."