Those of you who are familiar with my tastes in entertainment are aware that I prefer shoot 'em ups and spy movies to Merchant/Ivory films. My dear friend, Milton Cantor, has long since despaired of recommending to me "good" films, aware of the disdain I customarily show for any attempt at art in my amusements. Yesterday, my wife dragged me off to see Jane Campion's latest work, BRIGHT STAR, a film dealing in a leisurely low-key way with the love affair between the poet, Keats, and a young woman named Fanny Brawne, who was an accomplished seamstress. I am abashed to have to admit that the film is utterly beautiful, and mesmerizing.
Everyone describes the film as dealing with the last three years of the life of John K. But in watching the movie, if it were not for the fact that he is JOHN KEATS, immortal tragic romantic poet, one would pay him very little mind. The movie is really about Fanny -- her wit, her independence, and the slow growth in her of a passionate love for the consumptive young man with the permanent five o'clock shadow who has taken up residence next door with his companion, Mr. Brown.
There is one supremely erotic moment in this low-key, reserved film, and it consists of a single word uttered by Fanny. I leave it to you film buffs to find it.
Abbie Cornish, an actress I have not before encountered, is irresistible as Fanny. I for one spent the entire movie wishing I might get to meet her. [Fanny, that is. For all I know, Cornish is a supremely gifted dingbat.]
Well, if anyone in Amherst, MA is reading this, don't tell Milton. It would destroy his image of me, and leave me with a lot of explaining to do, next time I see him.