Where oh where do I start? The film, Bright Star, was so moving and beautiful and inspiring that it’s hard to know what to talk about first. Should I touch on the impeccable costumes, the devastating romance, or the amazing cinematography? The film follows the romance between poet John Keats (played by Ben Whishaw, whom I now have a big crush on) and Fannie (Abbie Cornish). Their love is ill-fated from the get-go. Keats is a poor poet who can in no way support a wife financially, but this knowledge doesn’t seem to affect their long, intimate walks through the woods arm-in-arm and their ultimately falling in love.
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The film was written and directed by Jane Campion, who also directed The Piano, which won three Oscars. Campion was inspired by Andrew Motion’s biography of Keats, which I would really like to pick up and read now. But I was most intrigued by the character of Fannie, who acted as muse for a romantic poetic that would go down in history as a literary star. The film highlights Fanny’s love for fashion as she sews her own clothes, as though designing dresses were therapy for her love-sick heart. And boy, was I inspired by the clothes! Although it might be hard to find a place in a modern wardrobe for a huge, lacy collar or a stovepipe hat, there are definitely aspects of early 19th century style that are possible to emulate. I’ve picked a few ModCloth pieces that I think fit the bill for channeling Fanny.
If this movie is playing in your area, grab a couple friends and head out to see it. But be warned – it is definitely depressing! Bring tissues and get ready for a drink afterward.