Universal acclaim - based on 34 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 73 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: London 1818: a secret love affair begins between 23 year old English poet, John Keats, and the girl next door, Fanny Brawne, and 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' 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' 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 sensation, "I have the feeling as if I were dissolving," Keats wrote her. Together they rode a wave of romantic obsession that deepened as their troubles mounted. Only Keats' illness proved insurmountable. (Apparition) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. Intimate as a whisper, immediate as a blush, and universal as first love, the PG-rated film positively palpitates with the sensual and spiritual.
  2. Campion's big-sisterly encouragement of Cornish's lovely, openhearted performance -- and Whishaw's well-matched response -- results in a character instantly, intimately recognizable to anyone remembering her own first love.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Breaking through any period-piece mustiness with piercing insight into the emotions and behavior of her characters, the writer-director examines the final years in the short life of 19th-century romantic poet John Keats through the eyes of his beloved, Fanny Brawne, played by Abbie Cornish in an outstanding performance.
  4. For a movie so sensuously mounted, it's remarkably grounded.
  5. 75
    Bright Star is the New Zealand writer-director's raw, sensual attempt to render Keats as experienced by a young girl who couldn't understand the genius of his verse.
  6. Mainly, though, it's the exquisite restraint - both of Cornish's performance and Campion's direction - that gives the film its power.
  7. Writer-director Jane Campion approaches the tale with an artiste’s respectful solemnity, but it too often comes off like "Twilight" transplanted across oceans and centuries.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 31
  2. Negative: 8 out of 31
  1. MauriceG.
    Sep 25, 2009
    Excellent film, very moving.
  2. GaryM
    Oct 6, 2009
    Beautifully realized film, so tender and delicate. Both performances are deep and moving. Its subtlety may go over some heads but I found it to be an exceptional film. Expand
  3. Jun 21, 2013
    Beautiful, moving story. Filmed at a slow pace, it allows the viewers to follow the development of Keats and Brawne relationship. Some unforgettable photography (the butterflies farm, the slow passing of seasons). Even more admirable in an age of speed and noise. The soundtrack is also quite delicate. A masterpiece of sophistication and substance. Expand
  4. roberti
    Oct 18, 2009
    Real love, between the star-crossed, shines from Bright Star. We feel the simple, insatiable thirst that love brings, in a thoroughly modern period retelling. And unlike the slew of self-aware biopics of the last decade, here the hitherto unseen Keats speaks, and the love that animated him comes to life again. She warms us even now. A pen! Expand
  5. DianaB
    Oct 28, 2009
    Disappointing although beautifully rendered. Sort of static. They meet, they love, he dies.
  6. KatherineS
    Oct 31, 2009
    Tepid, boring, and precious. I din't, actually, find the period detail convincing. It was distracting, and many of the scene reminded me of advertisers' idealizations or lifestyle images showing children of different ages all engaging in idyllic pastimes on large green lawns that only the priveleged can access. I also thought that both Cornish and Wishaw were miscast. Wishaw was turnoff and Cornish was stolid. I also couldn't catch a fair amount of the dialogue. An generally overrated film, I would say. I wonder what the UK reviews say. Expand
  7. RonL.
    Sep 30, 2009
    For the second time in 30 years, I walked out on a movie. When the most entertaining thing is the scenery and the most exciting moment is a rainstorm, you've got yourself one really boring film. (Well, Keats does cough up blood at one point.) No one does anything and nothing happens. Jane Campion has come up with her answer to waterboarding. Expand

See all 31 User Reviews


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