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Betsy Sharkey's pick: 'Bright Star'

September 24, 2009|Betsy Sharkey

This very modern romance between a poet and a young fashionista is also a period piece respectful of its 19th century roots -- a neat trick director Jane Campion has managed with something close to perfection. This lush romantic drama puts its filmmaker's talents in sharp relief while it showcases the remarkable trio at the heart of this tale: Ben Whishaw as John Keats, the poet who would be dead by 25; Abbie Cornish as Fanny Brawne, the feisty fashion-centric girl next door; and lastly, the wonderful Paul Schneider as Keats' best friend, Charles Armitage Brown, whose attempts to derail the love affair were too little, too late. These are performances so finely turned as to never feel like performance at all. So their memory lingers with us, like old friends, long after the lights have gone up.

-- Betsy Sharkey

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