Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bright Star

Bright Star tells of an intense three-year romance between the Romantic poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne. Beautiful Fanny’s passion is for making fashionable clothes and needlework and Keats, of course, is in love with words. Sometimes movies about great artists don’t even delve into the work that makes them great. Not so with Bright Star. The poems and the visual beauties written about are the center of the movie. Poems are recited, like parts of Endymion (“A thing of beauty is a joy forever”) and the poem about Fanny, "Bright Star". Plus, the actors (Ben Whishaw and Abbie Cornish) read from love letters written when they are separated. The movie is sumptuous, with each shot there is so much to look at, Fanny’s stunning dresses or a white room filled with butterflies. There is one playful scene where John and Fanny are walking behind Fanny’s sister trying to hide their affection for each other, and each time the girl turns around they stop moving, like they are playing freeze tag. Sure some may find this movie a bore, intense conversations about poetry and love in the time when a valentine was cause for a passionate yelling match between two suitors. But, I enjoyed the movie thoroughly, and am even now compelled to read some Keats:

The First Stanza Of "Endymion"

A THING of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkened ways::
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
'Gainst the hot season; the mid forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.

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