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Bright Star (2009)


Average Rating: 7.2/10
Reviews Counted: 156
Fresh: 129
Rotten: 27

Critics Consensus: Jane Campion's direction is as refined as her screenplay, and she gets the most out of her cast -- especially Abbie Cornish -- in this understated period drama.

Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 39
Fresh: 35
Rotten: 4

Critics Consensus: Jane Campion's direction is as refined as her screenplay, and she gets the most out of her cast -- especially Abbie Cornish -- in this understated period drama.


Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 10,944



Movie Info

London 1818: a secret love affair begins between 23 year old English poet, John Keats, and the girl next door, Fanny Brawne, an outspoken student of fashion. This unlikely pair started at odds; he thinking her a stylish minx, she unimpressed by literature in general. It was the illness of Keats's younger brother that drew them together. Keats was touched by Fanny's efforts to help and agreed to teach her poetry. By the time Fanny's alarmed mother and Keats's best friend Brown realized their … More

PG (for thematic elements, some sensuality, brief language and incidental smoking)
Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
Jane Campion
In Theaters:
Jan 26, 2010
Box Office:
Apparition Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Bright Star

All Critics (156) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (129) | Rotten (27) | DVD (6)

Campion, who won fans with The Piano (1993) and lost them with the dismal In the Cut (2003) here returns to the top of her form.

Full Review… | November 22, 2009
Top Critic

A combination of unstuffy dialogue, wise casting, unselfconscious performances and sensuous but never pretty photography makes Campion's version of the nineteenth century feel current but not anachronistic.

Full Review… | November 6, 2009
Time Out
Top Critic

For a movie so sensuously mounted, it's remarkably grounded.

Full Review… | October 2, 2009
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic

The rare film about the life of an artist that is itself a work of art.

Full Review… | September 25, 2009
Top Critic

In its way Campion's film is a thing of beauty, but its characters' inner lives must be taken on faith.

Full Review… | September 25, 2009
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Greig Fraser's cool cinematography offsets the heat in Campion's ecstatically literate screenplay, which quotes Keats' handiwork all the way through the end credits. It sounds like music.

Full Review… | September 25, 2009
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

[Jane Campion] shows us here the beautiful sanctuaries that word and image create together, and the reasons why life requires us ... to abandon them.

Full Review… | September 24, 2014
Film Comment Magazine

Campion's film avoids any taint of costume drama frippery. Yes, Fanny starts off as a Regency-era fashionista, but Cornish and Whishaw's deeply felt performances give us a real sense of the beating hearts beneath the frock coats and bonnets.

Full Review… | August 2, 2012
Movie Talk

to film asxoleitai me ton erwta toys, apo th skopia ths Fanny, apo th skopia petaloydas poy sboyrizei anemela mexri na brei sto libadi poihth na toy royfhksei to nektar

Full Review… | September 29, 2011
Movies for the Masses

The emotions found in Bright Star are raw and passionate, and are magnificently presented in the most simplest and natural moments.

Full Review… | July 7, 2010
Matt's Movie Reviews

Romance and poetry have no time to sag

Full Review… | May 31, 2010
Movie Habit

Gorgeous and anchored by a flinty performance from Abbie Cornish, it's a mystery as to why this Jane Campion period piece fades away rather than catches fire.

Full Review… | May 13, 2010

High-Toned, Tragic, Exalted Soap

Full Review… | April 13, 2010
Entertainment Insiders

Janet Patterson has come up with an exquisite wardrobe for Fanny that magically suits both the biographical back-story and Cornish's fine physique. Let's hope Oscar agrees.

Full Review… | February 25, 2010

The plot doesn't have much to go on, so much is imagined but not demonstrably true, with acting, production design and period costume hopefully covering for accuracy.

Full Review… | January 14, 2010
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Has a disarming quality to it, depicting a romance not as torrid waves of drama but as something that is born awkward and steadily gains its holding.

Full Review… | January 12, 2010
Window to the Movies

A movie in the inimitable PBS Masterpiece Theater style. John Keats falls in love, gets TB and dies. At least there are no Exxon commercials.

Full Review… | January 4, 2010

The film appears to be flirting with the idea of superficiality and romance and wit and depth of character but never really explores any tack at length, except the agonies of their love.

Full Review… | December 29, 2009

An intoxicating and intelligent romance film with strong fleshed-out characters that defy all the clichés and pulpy attributes that usually plague this genre.

Full Review… | December 28, 2009
Cinema Autopsy

This is tragic young love in all its overwrought glory and agony. This is not the reserved, stylish sort of love one seen in Jane Austen's works.

Full Review… | December 27, 2009
Laramie Movie Scope

Oh Bright Star, wouldst thou were a great film... but thou art not. Thou art good but bitsy.

Full Review… | December 23, 2009

But the film is more about the impact of love on both their lives than about the impact of his poetry, which wasn't widely recognised until after his death. Life's a bitch.

Full Review… | December 18, 2009
Urban Cinefile

Like a bright star that shines from the heavens, Jane Campion's film about the doomed love between the poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne is exquisitely beautiful, but keeps us at arm's length.

Full Review… | December 18, 2009
Urban Cinefile

The most perfect film of the year.

Full Review… | December 18, 2009
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Your heart will break, your head will swoon, and you will hope against hope for a happy ending that history will not permit.

Full Review… | December 17, 2009
Herald Sun (Australia)

One of the year's pleasures for the eyes, mind and heart -- a bright star indeed.

Full Review… | December 17, 2009
Courier Mail (Australia)

Audience Reviews for Bright Star


One of the most underrated films of 2009, brilliantly directed, gorgeously photographed and wonderfully acted. Left me a little speechless at the end. Look out for Ben Wishaw's reading at the end of the credits-just a brilliant delivery and a wonderful voice! Wonderful performances by Abbie Cornish and Ben Wishaw.Look out for Ben Wishaw's reading at the end of the credits-just a brilliant delivery and a wonderful voice!

Highly recommended

Sarah Gaish

Super Reviewer

Ever wish the fictitious on-screen couple in a movie would fall apart so you could get some action with the leading lady? Yeah, neither have I. Save that for people who get emotionally involved in movies. That's not to say her character didn't make me hot in all those tailored 1800s outfits. Mmmm, girl.

I'd watch it again. Even though the second half was, at times, almost unbearably sad. Something tells me I'll be on the lookout for more films featuring either Ben Whishaw or Abbie Cornish. After I watched "I'm Not There," I was patiently waiting another film with Ben Whishaw in it. Lo and behold, here's one.

Better yet, my mom rented this movie and lent it to me. My mom NEVER rents excellent movies. Without my guidance. Total mindfuck.

Daniel J DeMersseman

Super Reviewer


jay nixon

Super Reviewer


A mostly genteel and restrained love story between poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne, with very solid performances by Abbie Cornish, Paul Schneider and Ben Whishaw. Also, there is one cathartic scene by the end of the film that really made me shed a couple of tears.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Bright Star Quotes

Maria Dilke:
A poem needs understanding through the senses.
– Submitted by Frances H (22 months ago)
Fanny Brawne:
Hope and results are different. One doesn't necessarily create the other.
– Submitted by Frances H (22 months ago)
Fanny Brawne:
[the night before he leaves] You know I would do anything.
John Keats:
I have a conscience.
– Submitted by Maria Y (2 years ago)
John Keats:
There is a holiness to the heart's affections you know nothing about!
– Submitted by Maria Y (2 years ago)

Discussion Forum

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