While I enjoyed the film, I also felt a kind of "missed connection" between Keats and Fanny. If I hadn't already known the story, I would have guessed that Keats didn't really care for her as much as he claimed to in his letters. There seemed to be too much restraint. Not that I wanted Keats to gush over her all the time, either--especially in public--I don't think that was Keats's way.
I get the impression that when the real John and Fanny were alone, that he was very demonstrative ( lots of kissing and caressing her) and spoke very "plainly" ( as he wrote in one of his letters to her), to her- that he told her he loved her and how beautiful he found her many times over! If he wrote such things in his letters I can imagine him being like this when they were alone. But when others were around- the restraint would be there.
Rather, I would like to have seen more of the Keatsian jealousies and frustrations. Ben Whishaw was just a little too restrained.
I would have liked to have seen it if it could have been shown in it's true light- of the reasons for them- otherwise it might not have presented him in a positive light.
According to some interviews I've read, that was what Campion needed him to be, even though he himself thought Keats needed more of an edge.
Do you mean Jane Campion didn't want to show his jealousy and fustration for the reasons I just mentioned?
I think the movie would have played better to a wider audience if they had just tacked on about a half an hour up front showing Fanny dancing and being a flirt and fighting a little more with Keats.
Yes- as Brown's assertion she is a flirt has no substance in the film. It would have been interesting to see her change from a flirt to a mature young woman devoted to a dying poet.
I would like to have seen women actually gossiping about her (not just hearing her mother say that there is gossip).
That would have been the Reynolds sisters!
It would have been interesting to have made Keats a little more emotionally unpredictable, as he was in his letters. At times, Keats could go from tender and loving to accusatory and cruel almost in the same breath.
But this would have been hard to portray accurately I suppose Malia- being dreadfully ill and desperate as he was ( and being on some "nerve shattering" medicine which made him anxious and nervous)it takes understanding to see that he wasn't cruel - he was confused. I think Fanny knew this- after all she stayed with him after the "rack" letter.
I would love to have seen how Fanny, the flirt who finds herself growing very quickly into a woman due to her relationship with this complex and strange man, would react to that kind of behavior--and struggle to keep this relationship afloat against all odds.
Oh he was complex all right! I think she understood him and was unusual herself. Life with him would never be dull would it? I think most men bored her and then along comes this sensuous, magical young poet who intrigued her...
I had a hard time believing she *was* the flirt she was accused of being. I couldn't really understand why she'd fall for Keats in the first place. (Was he a "challenge"? Different from other men? It would have been nice to see her interacting with other men--men other than Brown--so we could get a sense of contrast.)
From reading all the sources- letters ( his and hers) and accounts it seems to me, she was a bit of a flirt but in the sense she was making fun of and sending up some of the boring men she met. It was a game. It was probably something she got used to doing around young men, and then along comes JK- who refused to play the game!
As for falling for John Keats- why wouldn't she? He was beautiful, interesting, very intelligent, genuine, passionate and honest- what's not to love?
He must have really stood out amongst those soldiers and boring chit chat.He must have been the most extraordinary man she had ever met in her whole life!
The real Brown was a misogynist and he did, at first, fight against Fanny's encroaching on his territory when it came to Keats. He sent her a lewd Valentine in real life and he did get the maid pregnant. As a bit of an aside, I would have liked to have had either Keats or Fanny (or both) actually hear Brown going at it with the maid a few times--just to increase the sense of frustration that the two would feel at *not* being able to do the same thing.
Ah no too cruel!
Poor John- he must have hated that hypocrisy...I still think he and Fanny should have said to hell with convention and fell into bed together. How disgraceful that religious and moral conventions said two people deeply in love could not indulge in the most natural activity in the world! I think it was downright cruel to forbid them the physical pleasure they would have had in each other. I won't rhodomantade on that one..I could really get cross!
Also, two scenes still get me a little goose-bumpy: When Fanny and the family try to take Keats indoors and can't even get him up the stairs and, of course, the scene where Fanny breaks down at the bottom of the staircase.
Yes- they were very goosebumpy.