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"BRIGHT STAR"
(2009) (Ben Whishaw, Abbie Cornish) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Mild Moderate Minor None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None None None Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Mild Heavy Heavy Minor


QUICK TAKE:
Historical Drama: Poet John Keats falls in love with seamstress Fanny Brawne in England circa 1818, only to have their love affair cut short by his terminal illness.
PLOT:
In 1818 England, the poet John Keats (BEN WHISHAW) is a struggling, penniless artist with no idea of his greatness. His most pressing concern is caring for his brother, Tom (OLLY ALEXANDER), who is dying from tuberculosis.

At the same time, he becomes smitten with his next-door neighborhood, Fanny Brawne (ABBIE CORNISH), a strong-willed seamstress who lives with her mother (KERRY FOX) and two younger siblings. The two are drawn to each other, despite the protests of Keats' friend and fellow poet, Charles Armitage Brown (PAUL SCHNEIDER), an arrogant, boorish man who wants Keats and his talent all to himself.

When Keats also falls ill to the same disease his brother had, his and Abbie's love is put to the test as he wrestles with the decision to leave England for a climate more conducive to his health.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Sensitive, older teens who are into poetry and literature will find some value in this film.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For thematic elements, some sensuality, brief language and incidental smoking.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • BEN WHISHAW plays the great Romantic poet, John Keats, who falls in love with a headstrong seamstress in 1818 England even though he is a poor writer. He comes down with tuberculosis.
  • ABBIE CORNISH plays the feisty, charming Fanny Brawne, who falls in love with Keats and becomes the subject of many of his great poems. She is still saddened by the death of her father when she was a young child, leaving her emotionally vulnerable to Keats who has a history of tuberculosis in his family.
  • PAUL SCHNEIDER plays an arrogant poet and friend of John's who wants Keats to himself (in a non-sexual way) and works to undermine his and Fanny's budding love affair. He has a sexual relationship out of wedlock with a maid that produces a child.
  • KERRY FOX plays Fanny's mother, who likes Keats but tries to steer her daughter away from him to marry someone with more money and social standing. The two women clash as a result.
  • OLLY ALEXANDER plays Keats' brother, who dies early in the film from tuberculosis bringing John and Fanny together.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this historical drama that has been rated R. Profanity consists of at least 1 "damn," while other colorful phrases are also uttered. Some sexually related dialogue is also present, while off-screen sex leads to an out-of-wedlock pregnancy.

    Violence is minimal, consisting of one character pushing another character hard against a tree in a fit of jealousy. Bad attitudes are present, as is some potentially imitative behavior and various thematic elements especially having to do with young men diagnosed as terminally ill with tuberculosis (with some bloody results). Wine is present in one scene, while smoking is in another, and tense family material occurs.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Wine is served at a holiday dinner.
  • Charles claims that he does not recall being intimate with Abigail, leading us to infer that he was possibly drunk while the act was performed.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Some very bloody linens are shown, the result of Keats having coughed up blood.
  • Fanny's young sister refuses to enter the bedroom of Keats' dying brother on account of the smell.
  • Both Keats and his brother have some nasty TB coughs, but no phlegm or bile is seen.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Busy writing, Charles and John won't open the door at first for Fanny, who is visible through the glass knocking.
  • Fanny calls Charles "an ape."
  • In response, Charles loudly mimics the sounds and movements of a primate, taking biscuits not meant for him from Fanny's basket.
  • Charles infers that his poetry has more value to humanity than Fanny's sewing. Fanny shoots back that at least her skill makes money.
  • Fanny's young sister refuses to enter the bedroom of Keats' dying brother on account of the smell.
  • Charles mocks Fanny's desire to learn poetry, doubting her sincerity and joking, "She only knows how to flirt and sew."
  • Fanny lies to Charles that she has just read a number of classic works, including "The Odyssey" and "Paradise Lost," in just one week.
  • Charles lies to her about the details of John Milton's writing to catch her in the lie.
  • Charles sends Fanny a mock Valentine that says she could use "a good whipping" that angers Keats, who briefly believes the two are having a secret affair.
  • Charles suggests that Keats become intimate with Fanny, prodding him, "Why not bed her? She'll do whatever you wish."
  • Charles informs the Brawne children and others that even when he and Keats appear to be doing nothing, they are still deep in thought with regards to their next poems and should be left alone.
  • Charles tries to sabotage Keats and Fanny's relationship by telling him that his poetry will suffer if he marries her.
  • John waits too long to tell Fanny he is going away on an extended trip. She finds out on her own, leading to a quarrel.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Fanny finds Keats sprawled out on the Brawnes' back lawn, gravely ill.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "I don't care a damn for stitches," "You disgusting ape," "She wants to read it to see if you are an idiot or not," "I know these dandies," "Where is that fool, Mr. Brown?" "Stupid," and "I hate you."
  • Fanny calls Charles "an ape." In response, Charles loudly mimics the sounds and movements of a primate, taking biscuits not meant for him from Fanny's basket.
  • Keats twice climbs to the top of a tall tree, once while barefoot.
  • Keats jokingly hits Charles in the back of the head with a ball.
  • Fanny and her two younger siblings allow live butterflies they have caught outside to float around their bedroom.
  • Fanny misses the departed Keats so much that she spends five days in bed pining for him.
  • As Keats' time away grows longer, Fanny laments, "When I don't hear from him, I feel as though I've died." She subsequently asks for a knife to kill herself (it's a melodramatic moment, not an actual suicide threat).
  • Keats and a male colleague have a mock sword fight with celery during a social gathering.
  • Fanny's mother lies down on a table.
  • Fanny's younger siblings are shown having a snowball fight.
  • A grieving Fanny grabs scissors and cuts her own hair.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 damn.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Fanny flirtatiously asks Keats how he likes sleeping in "her bed." He staggers and begs her pardon, and she then explains that the house he is currently staying in was one she previously occupied and she suspects he is sleeping in the bed she slept in.
  • Fanny is shown in several beautiful dresses throughout the film that show ample amounts of cleavage.
  • Charles sends Fanny a mock Valentine that says she could use "a good whipping" that angers Keats, who briefly believes the two are having a secret affair.
  • Charles suggests that Keats become intimate with Fanny, prodding him, "Why not bed her? She'll do whatever you wish." Keats declines.
  • Charles has off-screen sex with his maid, Abigail, and impregnates her. He claims that he does not recall the intimacy, leading us to infer that he was possibly drunk while the act was performed.
  • Late in the film, Keats decides to leave England for good on account of his illness. Fanny offers herself to him, suggesting, "I'll do anything." He declines.
  • Keats confesses his dream of him and Fanny sharing their love physically, wishing he could kiss her breasts and be intimate with her.
  • SMOKING
  • A few men are seen smoking during a gathering of writers.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • John Keats cares for his brother, Tom, who is on the verge of death from tuberculosis. Tom succumbs to the disease early in the film.
  • Fanny reveals that her father was ill for most of her young life, and he died when she was still a small child. She laments that she has no memory of him being well.
  • Fanny quarrels with her mother about the penniless Keats courting her at the expense of her meeting other suitors who would make better husbands.
  • At one point, Fanny says of her younger sister: "I'm annoyed by her as often as I love her."
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Tuberculosis and how deadly an illness it was in centuries past.
  • The legacy of John Keats and the other great Romantic poets.
  • The constraints of Victorian society, especially pertaining to love, marriage and social status.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Keats pushes Charles hard against a tree in a fit of jealousy.
  • Keats and a male colleague have a mock sword fight with celery.



  • Reviewed September 27, 2009 / Posted October 2, 2009

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