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Bright Star
DVD disk
02.17.2010 By: Chris Bumbray
Bright Star order download
Director:
Jane Campion

Actors:
Abbie Cornish
Ben Whishaw
Paul Schneider

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A drama based on the tragic romance of 19th century English Poet John Keats (Ben Whislaw), and Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish) - an outspoken, proto-feminist fashion designer.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
After playing at both the Cannes, and Toronto Film Festivals, critics hailed BRIGHT STAR as a major comeback for director Jane Campion (THE PIANO), and predicted that star Abbie Cornish, would be a shoe-in for Oscar consideration.

Alas, the film opened and closed in the fall without making much of a splash, with BRIGHT STARís sole Oscar nomination being for costume design. This is a shame, as itís truly a wonderful piece of work. This really is a major return to form for Campion, with it easily being her best film since THE PIANO.

Like that film, BRIGHT STAR is a tragic, period romance; although this one has the benefit of actually being true. Despite the lofty subject matter, you really donít need to know all that much about Keats to enjoy the film. My knowledge of Keats only extends as far as the actual poem; ĎBright Starí is concerned. Back in my university days, I would occasionally recite it to impress girls, but that was about as far as my appreciation of Keats went.

Sure enough, after seeing the film, I went back and checked out some more of his poetry, and his verse seemed all the sweeter now that I knew about the romance that inspired it.

In the lead role, Cornish and Whislaw both put in rather excellent performances. Cornish really should have copped an Oscar nom, but sadly the film just wasnít seen by enough people to get her the attention she deserved. Whislaw is similarly great as the charming, if initially aloof Keats.

However, the real scene-stealer had to be Paul Schneider playing Keatsí benefactor/ best friend- the rakish Scottish poet, Charles Brown. Considering Schneiderís from North Carolina, youíd think heíd stick out like a sore thumb is this British production, but he effortlessly pulls off a realistic southern brogue. If, like me, youíve only seen him in ELIZABETHTOWN, ALL THE REAL GIRLS (masterpiece), or PARKS & RECREATION, prepare to be amazed by his transformation. The guyís got some serious chops, and I hope Iíll be seeing him in more films in the future.
THE EXTRAS
Not much here, except three featurettes (really one eight minute segement divided in three), and a deleted scene . All together, this adds up to about ten minutes of bonus material. We donít even get the trailer, or a commentary track. Shame.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
BRIGHT STAR is a wonderful romance, and well worth checking out if youíre in the mood for a little arty drama. It would certainly make a great date movie, so rather than allow yourself to be suckered by your significant other into seeing VALENTINEíS DAY, why donít you suggest an evening at home with a nice bottle of wine and BRIGHT STAR? Iím sure youíll find it is well worth the effort!
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