The old-school romance

Sometimes, girls need a little bit of old school romance. That’s why movies like “Bright Star” are made.

For anyone who loves Jane Austen movies, this new film about the life, love, and muse of poet John Keats will make you want to travel back in time a 150 years to when the girls wore pretty dresses and the boys spoke poetically.

“Bright Star” details the short life of Keats and the reason behind his amazing poetry. We all hear about falling in love with the girl next door, but Keats really did.

Keats’ next door neighbor happened to be the beautiful and flirtatious Fanny Brawne, and he was immediately captivated by her nature. Brawne was fascinated by Keats, though she disapproved of poetry and literature in general, preferring high fashion and dances, to the moody life of the poet.

This, however, did not stop the two from having an intense three year romance. Keats’ status was far below that of his muse, making the two an unlikely and ill-favored match.

Brawne was a famous flirt in her own right and had a trail of suitors, but Keats proved to be the one that broke the cycle. Brawne had finally found a boy who made her want to let go of all the rest.

The cinematography, script, and attitude make you feel like you are watching “Pride and Prejudice.” The movie includes several poem readings and letters that were passed from one lover to the other. The last time Keats and Brawne are together, he tells her, “I cannot say forget me — but I would mention that there are impossibilities in the world.”

The title of the movie is one of Keats’ most famous poems. “Bright Star” is recited between the two throughout the movi; “The moving waters at their priestlike task/ Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,/ Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask/ Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—/ No—yet still steadfast, still unchangeable.”

The movie is pretty much one beautiful, painful, love quote after another. It is one of those movies that girls will drag their boyfriends to, probably kicking and screaming, and then demand to be treated like Fanny afterward. “Bright Star” is one of those real stories that make fiction look inane and unnecessary.

It needs neither big named actors, nor special effects to make it good. Ben Wishaw plays the young Mr. Keats, and Abbie Cornish plays the object of his desires. Neither one has much practice in the spotlight, but both act out their roles beautifully, making you feel not only their exquisite love, but tragic pain as well.

It is currently only being played in little one or two screen theaters, but “Bright Star” will have a larger premier at bigger theaters across the country soon. Right now the closest place to Millersville University showing the film is a small kitschy theater right beside Lebanon Valley College, Allen Theatre and MJ’s Coffee House.

  • yvette

    “boys spoke poetically” … oh really? I’d like to challenge you on that claim. I do not believe boys (or men) ever spoke poetically.

    Movies like this promote unattainable standards for men in our society.

    They also promote unattainable standards of beauty for women in the way of thinness, complex, etc etc.

    Let’s redefine what to expect from each other and not give in to Hollywood standards.

  • L.J. DiLouie

    Though I would most definitely like to redefine Hollywood’s unattainable standards, I have to disagree with you.

    John Keats is not, in fact, a fictional character and did speak and write poetically. The story is based on real events and real dialogues between the two lovers, all of which is historically accurate.

    Though Hollywood does an excellent job of warping reality for today’s youth. True love stories such as that of Keats and Brawne allow us to believe in something more.