Movie for a Bohemian Season: Bright Star

Bright Star was a slow film, gently unfolding imagery and emotion.  If fast plots are your thing, don't bother with this.  It also happens to be a tragedy.  If you like happy endings, please don't hurt yourself on this one.  It made me cry - twice.

I do prefer happy endings, but I also sometimes muse on tragedy and feel and know it's realness in my soul.  That life is short and there's little we can bloody do about it.  And that sometimes short moments of love and bliss and happiness and dream chasing are all we have.  And this film captures that in such a real way.
The poetry of John Keats is so beautifully flowing and liquidly evocative.  But like Fanny, I cannot say I fully grasp it.

In the film he has a wonderful bit where he says:

A poem needs understanding through the senses. The point of diving into a lake is not immediately to swim to the shore but to be in the lake, to luxuriate in the sensation of water. You do not work the lake out, it is a experience beyond thought. Poetry soothes and emboldens the soul to accept the mystery.

I love this because it so applies to so many other things in life.  So often for me, the point of diving into a lake is to immediately swim to shore.  I don't luxuriate in the sensation of water, I don't "experience beyond thought".  I struggle to "accept the mystery".

I love the silent, watching children, Fanny's younger brother and sister. This movie wouldn't be the same without them. I get the feeling that it is as if we are the children, we are the ones in the movie, watching through the eyes of the children.  We are the watchers.  The children say little about the budding love between Fanny Brawne and John Keats, yet they watch with faces that could perhaps be curious or concerned.

And yet when Fanny and John are separated and living on love letters alone, it is the children who step in to catch butterflies, a symbol of their love, bringing them to Fanny.  And in a moment that caused me to immediately choke on tears - little curly red-haired "Toots" quietly hands a goodbye gift to John and throws her arms round his neck and says I love you -and  in that moment, you know, that they have been rooting for Fanny and John all along.

And you, the watcher can't help but root for Fanny and John too, in spite of everything you know.

The movie captured something indescribable that is the bittersweet mystery of life.

What makes it bohemian?
The chasing of dreams
Loving even when it doesn't make sense
Beautiful poetry and artistry
even in fashion and the poetry of stitching
Butterflies and meadows
Quiet moments
and... the mystery that is life


  1. I thought it was such a lovely movie....
    and I was thinking the same thing about the children. I loved how they were always lingering near by.

  2. I can't take the sadness of it right now, but I do plan on watching it sometime in the near future, as I've been hearing about how visually stunning it is!

  3. I heard that this movie is mesmerizing. I just put it on my netflix queue. Thanks for the review.