User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 76 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 58 out of 76
  2. Negative: 14 out of 76
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  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 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 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. Expand
  2. RonL.
    Sep 30, 2009
    1
    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.
  3. StuartL
    Sep 17, 2009
    2
    Like watching a freshly painted Gainesborough painting dry.
  4. KevinS.
    Sep 18, 2009
    9
    This movie is wonderful. Romance IS sexier than graphic sex.
  5. pete
    Sep 20, 2009
    2
    Slow, plodding and lacking narrative. One of Jane Campion's least interesting film. However the two leads are mesmerizing.
  6. damonc
    Sep 23, 2009
    2
    This was a complete snoozefest. sure the acting was good, but this is a story that we've seen a hundred times before. what's so fresh or interesting about this? nothing.
  7. Marco
    Sep 24, 2009
    4
    Beautiful cinematography and fine acting cannot make up for a painfully slow pace and a narrative that seems only partially realized. Chunks of the story are left unstated, and Campion fails to provide sufficient cues to permit the viewer to fill in the gaps. The result is that watching this movie requires the same sort of patience and commitment and interpretive skill that it takes to Beautiful cinematography and fine acting cannot make up for a painfully slow pace and a narrative that seems only partially realized. Chunks of the story are left unstated, and Campion fails to provide sufficient cues to permit the viewer to fill in the gaps. The result is that watching this movie requires the same sort of patience and commitment and interpretive skill that it takes to understand and appreciate complex (some might say impenetrable) poetry. found this a hard one to sit through. Expand
  8. MauriceG.
    Sep 25, 2009
    10
    Excellent film, very moving.
  9. BayC.
    Sep 27, 2009
    3
    Beautiful individual scenes -- lots of them -- but otherwise not enjoyable. Difficult to hear dialogue (even poetry). Wait for home DVD so you have subtitles.
  10. JohnA.
    Sep 28, 2009
    10
    Gorgeous movie, well acted, slow, deliberate, but highly romantic. Action fans may not have the patience for it, but I highly recommend this.
  11. AlexW.
    Sep 29, 2009
    9
    Tragically beautiful. Wishaw encapsulates Keats' ethereal nature perfectly. A rare romance that simply impossible to brush off.
  12. Marcia
    Sep 30, 2009
    9
    Beautiful and lyrical film ... another stunning achievement by Campion. I went home and found my college Oxford Anthology of English Lit and reread "Endymion" and "Ode to a Nightengale". Exquisite.
  13. davidk.
    Oct 1, 2009
    1
    What some call restraint I call boring. Absolutely no dramatic tension at all. I LOVE John Keats's poetry, but could not have cared less about Campion's characters. And please: the real story here is Keats and his art, NOT Fanny the Faun.
  14. AnnB.
    Oct 2, 2009
    8
    This was a beautifully shot love story. Abbie Cornish as Fanny was exquisite. Loved the costuming and authenticity of the interiors and exteriors. The pace of the film, however, was excruciatingly slow.
  15. Nannina
    Oct 2, 2009
    10
    Incandescently beautiful, swooningly romantic, soaringly uplifting, heartbreaking, and pretty much perfect. Along with the "The Hurt Locker" it's the best movie of the year.
  16. GaryM
    Oct 6, 2009
    10
    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.
  17. JohnV
    Oct 8, 2009
    10
    Anyone giving this movie less than about an 8 has something other than blood flowing thorough their veins. This movie sets the standard for historical fiction. No detail throws you out of the period. The movie is about a romance, and that's the point. The poetry becomes more important because you come to know the characters involved. I thought the move did a fine job of building Anyone giving this movie less than about an 8 has something other than blood flowing thorough their veins. This movie sets the standard for historical fiction. No detail throws you out of the period. The movie is about a romance, and that's the point. The poetry becomes more important because you come to know the characters involved. I thought the move did a fine job of building tension into a story the outlines of which are well-known. The girl who played Fanny was especially effective, but the cast was uniformly thrilling. Collapse
  18. CB
    Oct 18, 2009
    8
    This film really sneaks up on you. It threatened to be just another costume drama, and then somehow managed to completely transport me with its elegance, fine performances, and delicate touch with the tenderest of love stories. By the end of the film, listening to 'Ode to a Nightingale" read in its entirety, I had a very difficult time composing myself enough to leave the theatre.
  19. roberti
    Oct 18, 2009
    8
    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!
  20. PatG
    Oct 20, 2009
    6
    Well, rats. I have a PhD in 19th-century lit, so I am able to deal with nuance and subtlety and poetry. I couldn't wait to see this film--but I am disappointed in it. It IS like watching a lovely Gainesborough painting dry. Cornish was very good, but Keats seemed like a boring wimp. And they had no chemistry between them. I am surprised at the viewers who say it was so moving and Well, rats. I have a PhD in 19th-century lit, so I am able to deal with nuance and subtlety and poetry. I couldn't wait to see this film--but I am disappointed in it. It IS like watching a lovely Gainesborough painting dry. Cornish was very good, but Keats seemed like a boring wimp. And they had no chemistry between them. I am surprised at the viewers who say it was so moving and intensely sexy. I just didn't see that. Lovely scenery, etc., but disappointing. I went in wanting to love it. Sigh. Expand
  21. KenG
    Oct 22, 2009
    7
    I don't know if the true life version of this love story was as chaste as this movie makes it seem, but otherwise this film does solid work all around.
  22. BillD
    Oct 24, 2009
    8
    It's dry in a PBS sort of way, but it delivers exactly what it promises. And Abbie Cornish was (is) amazingly beautiful and talented.
  23. ElaineS
    Oct 25, 2009
    10
    Beautiful film, loved Abbie Cornish as Fanny. It is so nice to see such an outstanding performance from an actress these days espcially in a time piece. The visual aspects and scenery were stunning.
  24. DianaB
    Oct 28, 2009
    7
    Disappointing although beautifully rendered. Sort of static. They meet, they love, he dies.
  25. KatherineS
    Oct 31, 2009
    5
    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 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
  26. MSB
    Nov 1, 2009
    1
    Sorry John V, but anyone who gives this movie more than a 1 knows nothing about Keats' life, his relationship with Fanny, his poetry, film-making in general, and the incredibly inept and pathetic Jane Campion. I should have known better than to see this film, considering I thought "The Piano" over-wrought and pompous. Sad that Campion knows nothing about Keats and yet chose to make a Sorry John V, but anyone who gives this movie more than a 1 knows nothing about Keats' life, his relationship with Fanny, his poetry, film-making in general, and the incredibly inept and pathetic Jane Campion. I should have known better than to see this film, considering I thought "The Piano" over-wrought and pompous. Sad that Campion knows nothing about Keats and yet chose to make a film about him. Those of us who have studied Keats' life and his poetry, and who are familiar with his letters to Fanny (she saved all of them, so why didn't Campion read them), who have written critically/analytically about the poetry, and who have taught Keats' work, either are or should be appalled at this incredibly inaccurate and simple-minded film. A pox on Jane Campion. She needs to go back to school---film-making school as well as a decent undergraduate liberal arts college. Expand
  27. ScottP
    Nov 16, 2009
    9
    Elemental and achingly beautiful, this is Jane Campion at her very best. Craft and emotion woven into poetry. Beautifully cast and acted down to the smallest role.
  28. Sep 3, 2010
    8
    I found the typical meter of the actor's words that resemble any other period peice, that each word is spoken with as much significance as we today attribute to the time, lacked realism and detracted from the making the film anything out of the ordinary. In essense its form was very typical of any other period drama, however I think Abbie Cornish's portrayal was devastatingly glorious. SheI found the typical meter of the actor's words that resemble any other period peice, that each word is spoken with as much significance as we today attribute to the time, lacked realism and detracted from the making the film anything out of the ordinary. In essense its form was very typical of any other period drama, however I think Abbie Cornish's portrayal was devastatingly glorious. She was the heart-strings of this film and swayed it in whatever way she wished. Expand
  29. Feb 17, 2011
    8
    Scenes of literary poetry
    With her poetic drama Jane Campion makes two hours feel like fifteen minutes in heaven in this story about a secret romance that starts of in London 1818 between struggling poet John Keats and the girl next door Fanny Brawne. When their love for one another is revealed they are faced with strong resistance, but their bond has gotten so strong that there is
    Scenes of literary poetry
    With her poetic drama Jane Campion makes two hours feel like fifteen minutes in heaven in this story about a secret romance that starts of in London 1818 between struggling poet John Keats and the girl next door Fanny Brawne. When their love for one another is revealed they are faced with strong resistance, but their bond has gotten so strong that there is nothing anyone can do to change it.
    Six years has passed since one of times most important female director's made the thriller "In the cut" (2003). Her newest film is based on Andrew Motions "KEATS: A Biography" from 1987 and is a hearty ovation to romantic poet John Keats (1795-1821), that depicts the tree last years in his life and focuses on the relationship between him and 19 year old Fanny Brawne, that would become his life's love.
    With sophisticated camera movements Campion visualizes the romance in the characters and nature as she attempts to drag out the essence off Keats poems. Her use of linear narrative holds this character drama together, and in several of the most artistic scenes Keats is quoted through Ben Wishaw's characteristic voice-over. The emotional substance in Abbie Cornish's interpretation compliments Campion`s lyrical film style and the chemistry between her and Ben Wishaw is present in ever scene they share. Paul Schneider is also splendid in his supporting role as Keats best friend. "Bright Star" is encouraged by the colorful interiors and exteriors that is in style with, contrasts and emphasizes the remarkable costumes. With her personal signature, New Zealand director Jane Campion creates rarely seen scenes of literary poetry that are enhanced by the atmospheric violin music from Mark Bradshaw, and returns to the genre's she more than mastered in "An angel at my table" (1990) and "The Piano" (1993). For her eight picture so far she was nominated for the Palme'd Or in Cannes for the third time. "Bright Star" is in my eyes an enchanting story that articulates and visualizes love's life with exquisite images, gesticulations and lines.
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  30. Jun 21, 2013
    10
    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.
  31. 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 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...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 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. Expand
  32. 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 masterfully directed, written, and acted. Ben Whishaw is a marvel.
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. Mainly, though, it's the exquisite restraint - both of Cornish's performance and Campion's direction - that gives the film its power.
  2. Bright Star may not be a joy forever but it will do until the next joy comes along.
  3. 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.