Bright Star

2009

Bright Star

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.

82%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 171

68%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 11,384
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Bright Star Photos

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 attachment, the relationship had an unstoppable momentum. Intensely and helplessly absorbed in each other, the young lovers were swept into powerful new sensations, "I have the feeling as if I were dissolving", Keats wrote to her. Together they rode a wave of romantic obsession that deepened as their troubles mounted. Only Keats's illness proved insurmountable.

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Cast

Ben Whishaw
as John Keats
Abbie Cornish
as Fanny Brawne
Paul Schneider
as Charles Armitage Brown
Kerry Fox
as Mrs. Brawne
Claudie Blakley
as Maria Dilke
Gerard Monaco
as Charles Dilke
Samuel Roukin
as Reynolds
Samuel Barnett
as Mr. Severn
Jonathan Aris
as Mr. Hunt
Olly Alexander
as Tom Keats
Theresa Watson
as Charlotte
Eileen Davies
as Mrs. Bentley
Amanda Hale
as Reynolds Sister
Sally Reeve
as Landlady
Lucinda Raikes
as Reynolds Sister
Francois Testory
as Dance Master
Adrian Schiller
as Mr. Taylor
Alfred Harmsworth
as Charles Dilke, Jr.
Lucas Motion
as Suitor at Ball
Topper
as The Cat
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News & Interviews for Bright Star

Critic Reviews for Bright Star

All Critics (171) | Top Critics (50)

  • Wonderful attention is paid to detail, including clothing, furniture and highly-stylized behavior. What is missing is emotion.

    Jan 16, 2018 | Full Review…

    Ed Koch

    The Atlantic
    Top Critic
  • Jane Campion's film is as lyrical as you might expect but it's also enlivened with a bracing air of irreverence.

    Dec 17, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Nov 22, 2009 | Full Review…
  • Bright Star is an admirable film made by a superb craftsman, but for me, Campion fails to deliver the big emotional punch she hopes to land.

    Nov 13, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Nov 6, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Dave Calhoun

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Without major tension, conflict or crisis, Brawne and Keats simply mope about, moon at each other, talk about literature and wait for the great poet to die from tuberculosis.

    Nov 6, 2009 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin Maher

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Bright Star

  • May 02, 2013
    This falls into the category of period films that I don't like. Nothing to jump out to make me want to love it but with acting that is hard to criticize. I suppose if you like this sort of thing..
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 23, 2011
    Another masterful work from Campion, and featuring a heart-breaking performance from Cornish which successfully put her on my radar, this film shines like the title suggests, dripping with artistic merit and featuring a lyricality among its prose that is beyond comprehension.
    Cody H Super Reviewer
  • Jun 26, 2011
    Beautiful. And I'm not just talking about Ben Whishaw whose degradation tugs at the heartstrings, the relationship is lovingly portrayed and the cinematography is a delight to behold. However the beauty is in how Campion manages to stray away from sentimentality, the utter tragedy of the story and overusing the glorious poetry. I also loved Schneider as Brown whose brash personality is a perfect foil to the quiet dignity of Keats. An utter joy to watch and the one tear that slowly made its way down my cheek at the end sums up the understated beauty of this film more than any flood of weeping ever could.
    Sarah B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 28, 2011
    "Bright Star" is a beautifully made film and I suppose it's true to the romantic spirit of John Keats' poetry, but the script's drippy, melodramatic qualities produce quite a few eyerolls. And then, as if to apologize for all the overwrought tears and chest-heaving elsewhere, there is Keats' best friend Charles Armitage Brown, who's such an amazing jerk that his close relationship with Keats seems wholly implausible. Paul Schneider is fine in the role -- I never would have guessed he is American -- but his part is just grossly one-dimensional. If you're looking for a Jane Campion film about a vulnerable writer, you're much better off reaching for "An Angel at My Table."
    Eric B Super Reviewer

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