Saturday, September 26, 2009

Companionship and Recitations

Bright Star (Jane Campion, 2009)
* (Has redeeming facets)

The paradox of Jane Campion’s period-costume film Bright Star is in its inability to mesh sight and sound. When its auditory dialogue is at its peak there is nothing worth looking at and when the visuals reach an insurmountable beauty there is nothing worth hearing.

True emotion is the focus of these sparse and brief scenes of John Keats (Ben Whishaw) reciting his poem “Ode to a Nightingale” to Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish) and when they are enjoying each other companionship through subtle gestures, particularly his sentimental down looking, and light physical contact involving the two holding hands. Emphasizing the cathartic benefits and warmth of relationships.

The film does not truly raise above the comfortable-world-cinema middlebrow with its pandering to the baby boomer generation sensibilities. Particularly with its focus on love in face of physical illness as John Keats dies of tuberculosis, a pristine white bourgeois family with primarily no concerns except a remedy for a broken heart, and finally with its familiar and twice-told grasping of a sociological clash of a relationship being formed by two members of opposite economic stratums.

Its treatment of the role of women in society and self-expression and devaluation of John Keats poetry, which is now considered a key figure of Victorian Romantic poetry, is interesting. But all in all the film leaves one disappointed.-David Davidson

(Bytowne Cinema, 324 Rideau Street, 25/09 - 08/10)

1 comment:

SKIDLOVE said...

I still want to see it David.

Remember to send me some questions!