Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. 88
    What Campion does is seek visual beauty to match Keats' verbal beauty. There is a shot here of Fanny in a meadow of blue flowers that is so enthralling it beggars description.
  2. 75
    Bright Star is a nice ode to the poet, the love of his life, and the period in which he lived.
  3. 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.
  4. 75
    Catnip for the art-house crowd.
  5. There's nothing exceptional about Jane Campion's historical biography, but it's a sufficiently lovely tale to suit romantics with a taste for intimate period dramas.
  6. For a movie so sensuously mounted, it's remarkably grounded.
  7. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    88
    Bright Star is a thing of beauty and a joy for a movie season that needs it.
  8. Jane Campion has performed her own feat of romantic imagination.
  9. 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.
  10. 100
    Masterfully put-together, made with confidence, intelligence and command.
  11. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    75
    What the film does best is remind us of the brilliance of Keats flame and how it was extinguished far too early.
  12. Young Edie Martin, with her chaotic swarm of red ringlets and deadpan dutifulness (she has few lines, but they’re goodies), is the movie’s sign of eternal spring--the butterfly atop the just-opened blossom.
  13. In its way Campion’s film is a thing of beauty, but its characters’ inner lives must be taken on faith.
  14. 90
    Ms. Campion, with her restless camera movements and off-center close-ups, films history in the present tense, and her wild vitality makes this movie romantic in every possible sense of the word.
  15. 90
    The film works on its own as an unfussy, passionate and gently erotic love story that never tips into sentimentality.
  16. 90
    Its great distinction lies in re-creating an age when thoughts and feelings were to be carefully considered and precisely enunciated. The best costumers, set designers, and property masters can’t conjure up the mental and emotional spaces of a simpler era; that requires a filmmaker who knows the virtue of quiet, patience, and attentiveness.
  17. Campion’s story of a tubercular poet and his lady love recasts the hackneyed old stanza in refreshing new verse.
  18. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    90
    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.
  19. 80
    That rare, genuinely transporting movie that creates an alternate universe, invites the audience in and lets them sink ever deeper into its particular, sublime reverie.
  20. Mainly, though, it's the exquisite restraint - both of Cornish's performance and Campion's direction - that gives the film its power.
  21. 75
    There are nice bits throughout, and your heart can’t help but go out to these impassioned young lovers whom you know are doomed. But Bright Star is too often tarnished by the ordinary.
  22. Intimate as a whisper, immediate as a blush, and universal as first love, the PG-rated film positively palpitates with the sensual and spiritual.
  23. 83
    It’s a studied movie that gives itself over to bursts of intensity, and between them sometimes threatens to become as spellbound by its subjects as they become with each other.
  24. 88
    Bright Star delivers a prismatic depiction - tart, funny and piercing - of the romance between poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne in the three years before he died, in 1821, at age 25.
  25. 70
    It's more conventionally romantic than wildly Romantic--but no less touching for that.
  26. What animates this dramatically constrained film are the lively words and the vitality of nature. An image of butterflies blooming in a bedroom is Keats' worldview in miniature.
  27. 50
    A well-acted, well-crafted but excruciatingly tepid romantic film about a subject that will attract poetry lovers and yet test even their considerable patience.
  28. 90
    What makes the movie extraordinary, however, is not so much the portrait of a poet as the accuracy and the detail of the period re-creation.
  29. 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.
  30. Bright Star may not be a joy forever but it will do until the next joy comes along.
  31. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    100
    A fine-boned, luminous tribute to Keats and the sufferings of love.
  32. Reviewed by: Liz Beardsworth
    80
    Campion has created another resonant paean to love’s pain and joy, and gives new life to John Keats, too often now associated with dusty school books.
  33. Reviewed by: Matthew Sorrento
    60
    Masterpieces of literature-to-film are a rare breed; this film falls short with satisfaction.
  34. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    100
    The rare film about the life of an artist that is itself a work of art.
User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 76 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 32
  2. Negative: 8 out of 32
  1. WillB
    Oct 3, 2009
    3
    When the whole of Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale" is read over the credits, any emotion the well-done cinematography and acting has When the whole of Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale" is read over the credits, any emotion the well-done cinematography and acting has managed to ring out of Campion's uninspired writing is revealed as quite forgettable and useless in comparison to the incandescent emotional output of the film's subject. The problem is that the film expects romance to stand on its own, when Keats' work is about a romance with art so strong that the rest of the world bends around it. Full Review »
  2. Nov 8, 2014
    10
    An intimate and flawless film worthy of the highest praise... one of Jane Champion's best works. This movie is quite, subtle and masterfullyAn intimate and flawless film worthy of the highest praise... one of Jane Champion's best works. This movie is quite, subtle and masterfully directed, written, and acted. Ben Whishaw is a marvel. Full Review »
  3. Aug 18, 2013
    9
    I watched this years ago just cause, I wasn't sure what I was going to get. This was a profoundly touching movie. I'm not sure why I seeI watched this years ago just cause, I wasn't sure what I was going to get. This was a profoundly touching movie. I'm not sure why I see reviews bashing it for being "too slow". Come on it's a drama and it's about real life. What do you think is going to happen? Some action packed scene with explosions? No it's not that kind of movie. If you wanted that you should have watched you know... an ACTION movie not a british drama. Dramas can be very slow but this one did not bother me because of the emotions it captured through amazing shots and acting. I was in tears many times in different points in this movie. NOT feelings of sadness or emotion ACTUAL crying that I could not stop. It's very rare a movie can do that to me. Overall a hugely ignored movie by the public and if you have not seen it you should. Full Review »