Bright Star Redoux

I did it! I went to see Bright Star, the movie I blogged about a month ago, the movie about John Keats’s love affair with his neighbor, Fanny Brawne . It finally came to two local theaters so Sunday night I finally got to see it.

I liked it very much for many reasons.

It was wonderfully acted. Abbie Cornish as Fanny definitely should be nominated for an Oscar. She had the most expressive face; you could almost tell what she was thinking. Ben Whishaw as Keats was also very good, although I can’t figure out why he was always unshaven. Was that supposed to show he was poor? Anyway, he managed to be masculinely appealing while still sensitive and poetic and sick. Paul Schneider played Brown, Keats’s friend and roommate. He also is said to be Oscar worthy. I was surprised to discover he is an American actor, from South Carolina, no less. He spoke with a very authentic-sounding Scottish accent. In addition to these main characters, even the minor roles were very well done.

The costumes were spectacular, especially Fanny’s dresses. Fanny Brawne designed and sewed her own dresses, so her costumes were beautiful creations. All the costumes were well done, though. I loved the hats and lace caps! I think the costumes in this movie were the most beautiful depiction of Regency era fashion that I have ever seen. Even the shoes were fascinating.

In addition to the costumes, the settings were wonderful. The four seasons were beautifully represented. The snow really looked like snow; the rain, like rain. Details were attended to. Stacks of books in Keats and Brown’s rooms, tea cups and dishes at dinner, the kitchen pots.

I had not expected the movie to be as emotional as it was. It had me trying to hold in sobs!

I thought there were some weaknesses in the movie. It was sometimes difficult to tell what was going on, who some of the people were, and why the scenes skipped from one to the other. If I had not read up on this part of Keats’s life, I would not have understood as much as I did.

The pace was slow. (One of my friends said she started thinking, “Die already, Keats!”) But because the film was so beautiful to look at, I didn’t mind so much.

If I wanted someone who knew nothing about the Regency period to fall in love with it, I’d probably recommend the BBC/Colin Firth version of Pride & Prejudice. But if someone is already in love with the time period, I’d definitely recommend Bright Star.

Have you seen Bright Star? What did you think of it?
Of movies set in the Regency era, which do you think best would make someone new fall in love with it?


I’m hoping my December book, Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady, evokes a rich Regency setting, a great love story, and lots of emotion. The excerpt is now up on my website. And a new contest.

About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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