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bright star.jpgJane Campion (‘The Piano’) returns to the screen with her latest and perhaps best work yet, ‘Bright Star.’ The film, about the poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne, the girl who steals his heart and becomes his muse, is the best romance I’ve seen in ages. It’s the perfect portrait of why eros is often better conveyed without the sex than with–a recent trend made evident through the popularity of Twilight, yet here is conveyed via a British costume drama without a vampire in sight.
Speaking of costumes, the setting for this film is not only beautiful, as we’ve come to expect from this sort of story, but most striking is the fashion sense of Fanny, Keat’s love, who is constantly inventing new styles of dress she sews herself, the bright rose and pink colors of her ruffled gowns and day outfits stunning against the landscapes. This element of Fanny’s character, combined with the poetry of Keats, read aloud beautifully by Ben Winshaw, the actor who plays him, makes for the perfect backdrop for two people to fall in love–Keats can’t resist Fanny’s striking presence and she can’t resist his way with words. Best of all is that audiences do not have to wade through long stretches where the two lovers falter or are forced apart–once their romance begins it is the center and staple for all the scenes that follow, making for an incredibly satisfying film-going experience.
Warning though: it is a tragedy. I sobbed through the credits at the end. But if you like romance, it is not only worth it, ‘Bright Star’ is a must see.

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