Bright Star (UK/Australia/France, 2009)

Directed by: Jane Campion. I checked this out almost solely because I wanted to get my Jane Campion up after being reminded of her awesomeness by the Story of Film, and I was kind of looking for doomed romances for some reason, and this is kind of a doomed romance (spoilers!). I don’t know much about Keats, but like most people, I had a brief phase where I was generally interested in the general fawning-worship of this generation of sad-sack Romantics. But wow is this movie ever Romantic with a capital R! To me it got to be a bit much, just dwelling for 2 hours on two mopey people pining for each other on and on. Ben Wishaw is good enough, as good as I’ve seen him. Abbie Cornish is the one who carries it though, for me. And I could have swore I’ve seen her before, because her name was familiar, but her Wikipedia seems to indicate that her biggest claims to fame are this movie and her prominent career as an Australian rapper (???). But then I see that she was also in Seven Psychopaths, which I wasn’t terribly fond of, and that’s probably why I forgot. But either way, she’s great in this, and I’d like to check out some more! As important as the main romance with her and Ben Wishaw was, to me the most interesting part was the third wheel Mr. Brown, played by the amazing Paul Schneider, who I still remember for his show-stealing performance in The Assassination of Jesse James (one of my favourites). The ferocity of his character, and the extent to which he’s willing to combat this lady for the time and attention of his bro Keats is a welcome antidote to the comatose fawning of the central romance. For that matter, I’d like to investigate Schneider and his filmography as well in the coming months. But really, I’m sure there’s a ton of great stuff in the Campion camp that I would do well to check out, so I’ll mark that one down for later too.

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