Synopsis: The romantic-drama starring Abbie Cornish, Thomas Sangster and Paul Schneider is based on the three-year romance between poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne. Their affair came to a crashing end when Keats died at age 25.
Round-up: “This is not a bio pic," Campion said at "Star"'s press conference, as reported by indieWIRE's Eugene Hernandez, "it’s a story inspired by their own story, told from Fanny’s point of view and it’s a love... story using the material and the letters. I find the bio-pic frustrating because it doesn’t give you room to have the space and the details really, so I don’t think this is a bio-pic.” As Hernandez notes, Campion has only made a few feature films since winning the Palme d’Or for “The Piano” at Cannes, sixteen years ago. Her “Bright Star,” a look at a young Fanny Brawne and her tortured romance with acclaimed poet John Keats, was mostly welcomed as a return to form. The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw went so far as to say that Campion "puts herself in line for her second Palme d'Or with this heartfelt and beautifully photographed story of the doomed love affair between John Keats and Fanny Brawne" in his review. And The Telegraph's David Gritten pretty much does the same: "It is not premature to predict that Bright Star it will match any film entered for the Palme d'Or this year for sheer beauty. It looks a strong bet for honours in a week's time." Continued, though not quite as overwhelming acclaim, comes from Variety's Todd McCarthy, who says Campion "breaks through any period piece mustiness with piercing insight into the emotions and behavior of her characters," though does note that film is missing a "compelling sense of Keats' singular attributes." While Screen's Allan Hunter said: "Campion has created a film that revels in the beauty of the English countryside... The central love affair is expressed through modest caresses, clasped hands and lingering glances rather than anything more explicit. It is a dreamy film to make the viewer swoon." One of the few truly mixed reviews was from indieWIRE's own Eric Kohn, who notes: "This might sound horribly simplistic, but Jane Campion’s “Bright Star” desperately needs a sex scene. The movie puts such prominent focus on the romantic attraction shared by two characters."