After numerous viewings...like it? or dislike it?

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Re: After numerous viewings...like it? or dislike it?

Postby Fragment » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:15 pm

I adored "Bright Star." I just recently watched it and I do intend on viewing it several more times. I enjoyed Fanny's perspective. The cinematic was well done, light/contrast and considered weather patterns. It definitely portrayed the romance adequately.
Two things that bothered me were the scene with Fanny cutting her arm...It was very random, something very out of character for Fanny. Perhaps some other "depressed" action should have been made, but the cutting was too immaturely violent for me.
Also, Mr. Brown's personality and portrayal seemed a bit too flamboyant for my taste. Its almost as if he was trying TOO hard to be obnoxious.
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Re: After numerous viewings...like it? or dislike it?

Postby Dolores » Wed Apr 06, 2011 10:09 pm

The scene with Fanny cutting her arm certainly seems to have bewildered a lot of people. I agree with you on that Fragment, I personally also felt the butterfly room was a little bit over the top. Ah I actually really enjoyed the portrayal of Brown (not the ape impression, that grated on me!) but he certainly made me laugh, and I felt his outburst at the end about how he let John down was quite moving. Personal preference though I think :)
Pale were the sweet lips I saw, Pale were the lips I kiss'd, and fair the form I floated with about that melancholy storm
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Re: After numerous viewings...like it? or dislike it?

Postby Fragment » Wed Apr 06, 2011 10:17 pm

I am in agreement with you about his outburst. If I wasn't already crying at the time, it would have made me.
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Re: After numerous viewings...like it? or dislike it?

Postby Ennis » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:25 pm

jesleeall wrote:Oh, I hope Campion never gets her hands on Keats again.
I know the movie was told from Fanny's perspective but I still think if it had been done more skillfully Keats would have come across more robustly--at least in spirit--in spite of his illness. I think some sense of his strength would have shown through.
I agree Wishaw was a great Keats, and did a very good job, especially considering some of the appalling dialog he had to deal with. I think he understood Keats. I remember reading that he read a number of biographies and became the cast expert on Keats. I also remember reading that he had wanted Campion to retain a scene which would have shown Keats in a more energetic and feisty light. But for some reason she didn't. I think she made repeated choices to weaken Keats and show Fanny's strength. Had she been more skilled, I think she would have told the story from Fanny's perspective without making Keats seem so passive and priggish. And without giving the characters such silly stuff to work with. Fanny cutting her arm when she gets upset? Didn't that jar and mar the tone a little? Seem a little too 21st century?
Having said all this, there was much about the movie that I loved. But that is why I have so much trouble watching it now. I want to love it...in the same way that Fanny says in the movie that she wanted to love Keat's Endymion. But I sit down to watch it and get annoyed all over again that there are so many silly, misleading bits in it.
I hope very much that we might see a great movie about Keats in our lifetime (has anyone seen the wonderful movie about Byron with Jonny Lee Miller?) But I don't think it's going to come from Campion.


"Fanny cutting her arm when she gets upset? . . . Seem a little too 21st century"

Why should it? Didn't Shelley's first wife, Harriet(?), commit suicide? Is cutting a 21st phenomenon, and how do we know what girls 150-200 years ago did or didn't do to when experiencing emotional duress? Why isn't it plausible for Fanny to do the same? Yes, I know about her "strength of character" (although how do we really know about that!? Everything we have about her is second- or third-hand news, anyway.) and I have no doubts she was resilient, but she still was just 18-19 years old at the time. I'm not too sure Campion totally missed the mark here. But then, and I would be the first to admit this, I am extremely defensive when it comes to anything that is Keats-related (from a positive POV, of course). . . .
"But if you will fully love me, though there may be some fire, 'twill not be more than we can bear when moistened and bedewed with Pleasures." JK to FB 08.07.1819
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Re: After numerous viewings...like it? or dislike it?

Postby Fragment » Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:50 pm

Ennis wrote: Yes, I know about her "strength of character" (although how do we really know about that!? Everything we have about her is second- or third-hand news, anyway.) and I have no doubts she was resilient, but she still was just 18-19 years old at the time. I'm not too sure Campion totally missed the mark here. But then, and I would be the first to admit this, I am extremely defensive when it comes to anything that is Keats-related (from a positive POV, of course). . . .


Your mentioning of her "strength of character" and how do we really know about that... Its not that we are being presumptuous about how she REALLY was, more so that IN the movie she was portrayed as an exceedingly strong character and the cutting of her arm just didn't seem very well related to her typical attitude. As I mentioned in an earlier post, her depressed action should have been portrayed in another way, or perhaps if Campion kept the arm cutting idea - it just wasn't powerful enough. There felt like something was missing as if the arm was "just" cut...for the heck of it.
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Re: After numerous viewings...like it? or dislike it?

Postby keatsgrove » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:49 pm

As a lurker I've enjoyed everyone's input and insights. Here are some of my own.

I've viewed the movie multiple times and love it for what it is - a drama. Keeping in mind that it's meant to be from Fanny's viewpoint and is constrained by its length and Jane Campion's lens, it's a beautiful piece. The second time I watched it, when I arrived at the part where Keats describes experiencing a poem by paralleling it with diving in a lake, I thought that that's what this movie is, something to be experienced through the senses and not to be worked out. It's not a documentary or a bio-pic, but a lush homage to the time, to poetry, and love.

That being said ..... I understand that things must be omitted, compressed, rearranged or invented in order to make a film with any coherency. But I'm in agreement that the cutting scene isn't substantiated in fact. Perhaps it was an attempt to show the hot and cold of the passion, the frustration of their circumstances, and also youth experiencing first love. I actually smiled when the scene went from happiness amongst the butterflies, to little Toots saying that Fanny wanted to kill herself, only because of the recognition that youthful passion rollercoasters from ecstasy to despair in a brief time. But the actual cut on her arm took it too far for me. (And blue morphos are beautiful butterflies, but aren't found in the wild in England! But I digress ;) ).

I was actually most disappointed with the scene in which Keats is found by Toots under the bushes and then carried into the house. I'm sure it was intended for great dramatic effect, but it wasn't true to what supposedly really happened, which to me is just as compelling. Apparently Keats, in a sudden desperate decision, intended to move from Kentish Town back to Well Walk but veered to Wentworth Place. Wouldn't a scene depicting Mrs. Brawne opening her door to find Keats - backed by encroaching night, in worse physical condition than when she last saw him, with God knows what expression on his face and in his eyes, and her consequently having him enter and stay - be equally compelling and more true to life? This would also imply tacit approval of their engagement, as well as her abandonment of concern for propriety and gossip. I thought Campion took a dramatic occurrence and made it melodramatic.

I do love Ben's Whishaw's depiction of Keats, in as much as he was constrained by his director. At various points in the movie, his jaw works silently as a physical manifestation of the emotions of the moment he's trying to conceal. Whether it was rebellious acting by Whishaw of passion that Campion wanted held back, or Campion's direction to depict Keats' shielding of his deepest emotions in public, I don't know. I do wish Keats and been made stronger and more rounded, as I believe that's how Fanny saw him. But Whishaw said in an interview that he believed Campion saw Keats as almost angelic. A shame.

Love the movie. But when I want to find Keats, I read his letters.
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Re: After numerous viewings...like it? or dislike it?

Postby Ennis » Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:29 pm

keatsgrove wrote:As a lurker I've enjoyed everyone's input and insights. Here are some of my own.

I've viewed the movie multiple times and love it for what it is - a drama. Keeping in mind that it's meant to be from Fanny's viewpoint and is constrained by its length and Jane Campion's lens, it's a beautiful piece. The second time I watched it, when I arrived at the part where Keats describes experiencing a poem by paralleling it with diving in a lake, I thought that that's what this movie is, something to be experienced through the senses and not to be worked out. It's not a documentary or a bio-pic, but a lush homage to the time, to poetry, and love.

That being said ..... I understand that things must be omitted, compressed, rearranged or invented in order to make a film with any coherency. But I'm in agreement that the cutting scene isn't substantiated in fact. Perhaps it was an attempt to show the hot and cold of the passion, the frustration of their circumstances, and also youth experiencing first love. I actually smiled when the scene went from happiness amongst the butterflies, to little Toots saying that Fanny wanted to kill herself, only because of the recognition that youthful passion rollercoasters from ecstasy to despair in a brief time. But the actual cut on her arm took it too far for me. (And blue morphos are beautiful butterflies, but aren't found in the wild in England! But I digress ;) ).

I was actually most disappointed with the scene in which Keats is found by Toots under the bushes and then carried into the house. I'm sure it was intended for great dramatic effect, but it wasn't true to what supposedly really happened, which to me is just as compelling. Apparently Keats, in a sudden desperate decision, intended to move from Kentish Town back to Well Walk but veered to Wentworth Place. Wouldn't a scene depicting Mrs. Brawne opening her door to find Keats - backed by encroaching night, in worse physical condition than when she last saw him, with God knows what expression on his face and in his eyes, and her consequently having him enter and stay - be equally compelling and more true to life? This would also imply tacit approval of their engagement, as well as her abandonment of concern for propriety and gossip. I thought Campion took a dramatic occurrence and made it melodramatic.

I do love Ben's Whishaw's depiction of Keats, in as much as he was constrained by his director. At various points in the movie, his jaw works silently as a physical manifestation of the emotions of the moment he's trying to conceal. Whether it was rebellious acting by Whishaw of passion that Campion wanted held back, or Campion's direction to depict Keats' shielding of his deepest emotions in public, I don't know. I do wish Keats and been made stronger and more rounded, as I believe that's how Fanny saw him. But Whishaw said in an interview that he believed Campion saw Keats as almost angelic. A shame.

Love the movie. But when I want to find Keats, I read his letters.


I agree with most of your sentiments, Keastgrove (except the cutting scene). My interpretation of Campion's scene when Toots finds Keats under the hedge is one of a symbolic nature. To put him under the hedge = soon to be put under the ground. "How horrid was the chance of slipping into the ground instead of into your arms. The difference is amazing, love."
But, yes! yes! yes! To find Keats is to go time and time again to those letters of his. He "speaks" to us all then.
I feel some Keatsians who post on the wonderful site see Mr. Keats as just one man among millions who have come before and who will follow, but to others of us, he is so much more . . . creative genius, extraordinary intellect, passionate and compassionate, generous (almost to a fault) who left to us all the wonderful residue (if that's the appropriate term to use)of his life, his nature, and his uniqueness. He is a gift. . . . and his talent will never be replicated.
"But if you will fully love me, though there may be some fire, 'twill not be more than we can bear when moistened and bedewed with Pleasures." JK to FB 08.07.1819
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Re: After numerous viewings...like it? or dislike it?

Postby jesleeall » Sun May 15, 2011 3:00 pm

After being so critical of the movie, let me post this link to a lovely short interview with Jane Campion, Andrew Motion, and Ben Whishaw. Most of you may have seen it, but I didn't see it until yesterday.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZkmji1Y ... r_embedded
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