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Bright Star (2009)

March 3, 2010

5/10 Honest Efforts

Just wasn’t my thing.

Bright Star is about 19th Century poet John Keats and the relationship he develops with his muse, one Fanny Brawne, before his untimely death a couple years later at the age of 25.

Thought I’d give this one a shot after watching a video where Quentin Tarantino ran down his favorite movies of ’09 and mentioned that he needed to watch this one again, and being that I respect the guy’s opinions, I figured this was worth seeking out. Normally, any movie that takes place in 19th Century England, features people who dress in homemade frocks and bring back horrible memories of hours spent zoning out in one Brit. Lit. class after another doesn’t usually warrant a slot in my Netflix queue, yet somehow the impossible happened.

In hindsight, I’m more likely to believe that I misheard Tarantino and that he probably said something along the lines of, “The sun is a very bright star, Aiden,” but either way, this thing found itself a spot on my shelf for over a month and so I forced myself through two hours of indifference if only to justify my sending it back.

So, yeah, wasn’t crazy about this one, but I should have known that going in.

The acting’s fine, the directing is pretty and the story is interesting, I guess. Even though it’s based on the actual life of John Keats – whose works I am entirely unfamiliar with and have zero desire to be enlightened opon – the plot still feels very familiar and doesn’t bring anything all that new to the table. Wish I could say it had me hooked and took a bonnet-sized crap on all my preconceived notions of what period pieces are capable of, but this is not that movie.

Look, if you’ve got a major jones for everything John Keats, if you wrote your dissertation on the guy, and/or if you planning on naming all your children irrelevant of gender after him, you’ll freakin’ love this movie.

If the sound of people talking in 19th Century British dialects doesn’t put you to sleep or make you want to shove a pen in your brain, you’ll probably run and get “Bright Star” tattooed on your forehead by the time the end credits roll.

If you just finished discussing the complete works of Jane Austen at your latest book club meeting and still wish a man like Mr. Darcy would come to sweep you off your knickers, good God, see this movie, bring the Kleenex and never look back.

Shockingly enough, I can’t exactly relate to any of these reactions.

I didn’t give Bright Star a 5 out of 10 because I didn’t like it or anything, it’s just the most neutral rating I can give a movie that I have such little interest in and, as a result, can’t fairly criticize or praise. If it seems like your thing, it probably is; if it doesn’t seem like your thing, trust me, it isn’t. It’s well-made and I can understand why some folks out there might totally dig it, but I’m not even gonna pretend to be part of the choir until someone makes a movie out of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. March 3, 2010 1:49 pm

    oh well, you cant win em all. good to see you trying stuff that isnt your bag though AR

  2. March 3, 2010 3:01 pm

    I felt that it was almost too subtle for its own good…not nearly maudlin enough for girls to watch with a tub of ice cream and tissues.

  3. March 3, 2010 3:28 pm

    Paul Schneider did a nice job I thought. Of course I don’t care for poetry so this film wasn’t going to be much.

    • March 3, 2010 3:44 pm

      Thought his accent was a little suspect, but yeah, I’m in the same boat.

  4. Branden permalink
    March 3, 2010 4:25 pm

    See, I am a guy that loves British periods pieces, like The Duchess, Affair of the Necklace or Pride and Prejudice, I would bored out of my mind with this movie. I didn’t care about John Keats. I kept hoping when is the fucker gonna die.

    It looked beautiful, but as I said it was a empty vessel.

  5. Ryan permalink
    March 3, 2010 4:57 pm

    Yo, I would definitely go see Pride and Prejudice and Zombies in theaters. You need to start writing that shit asap.

  6. March 4, 2010 7:08 am

    haha Branden, that made me lol
    i too liked The Duchess, much to my surprise

    • March 4, 2010 8:29 am

      I can’t believe you guys are making me want to see The Duchess of all things.

      • Branden permalink
        March 4, 2010 4:25 pm

        You should watch The Duchess. If there is anything you latch on is Ralph Fiennes going back to his villainous side.

      • March 4, 2010 4:36 pm

        That’s a definite draw. Fiennes is a damn good bad guy.

    • Branden permalink
      March 4, 2010 4:24 pm

      Thank you, Ross. I had to let that one out. I feel cleansed.

  7. March 4, 2010 11:41 am

    yeah there are no helicopters or explosions in it, but its a good watch.
    Keira Knightly is good in it. not so sure about pretty boy Dominic Cooper though

  8. mcarteratthemovies permalink
    March 4, 2010 1:50 pm

    If you’d have asked me which movie from last year you were least likely to see, my pick would have been “Bright Star.” Seriously. I’m an action fan myself and of course I’m nuts for Tarantino, but I suppose I also fit into that special subcategory of people who don’t, as you say, fall asleep when there’s no sex or explosions and lots of British dialogue and poetry.

    I like to think that maybe Tarantino saw in it what many of us did: that sexual tension can be more exciting than actual sex. Hell, maybe he’s a Keats fan. He’s a odd duck but a smart one.

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