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May Flowers in "Bright Star"

Andrew here using May Flowers celebrations to talk about one of my favourite 21st century films.

If you asked me to pick a single image to represent movies from 2000 onwards chances are that I’d choose this specific image from Jane Campion’s Bright Star. It’s still one of those movie images seared into my brain, four years after I first saw it. Campion’s 2009 film has so many things going for it, and Greg Fraiser’s peerless cinematography is somewhere towards the top. It’s not quite my favourite film of its year but it is, easily, my choice for “most beautiful” and that’s not just because it has the prettiest couple heading its romance. [more...]

Bright Star's infatuation with flowers and natures is present in more than just this arguably iconic image, though. The film doesn't truly function as a biopic for Keats but one of the things Campion gets so right is the relationship between romantic poets and nature. Like an organically unfolding love poem Bright Star is more a series of vignettes between Fanny and John than a plot-filled story. In one of my favourite of (many) random moments their first tentative kiss is interrupted by a cry from Fanny’s little sister, Toots. The two childishly trail behind her playing a make-shift game of Statues in a field of flowers leading to another too beautiful image. 

While re-watching parts of Bright Star this weekend it occurred to me just how much of that central romance should not work as well as it does. Why do these two seem so easily infatuated with each other? Their warm, innocent love is as ineffable as it is moving. The fact that great declarations of love or seismic romantic moments are few and far between does not seem unearned but only adds to the charming grace of it all. Forty minutes in when Fanny arrives to interrupt yet another work session between Keats and Mr. Brown after that awkward Valentine’s Day argument with (what else?) a flower the moment is positively overflowing with romantic overtones. There have been no spoken “I love you’s” and no stolen kisses but still the tenderness of the moment is striking.

I’m not one to praise uniqueness for uniqueness's sake but truly one of Bright Star’s largest assets is the way it exists as so wholly distinctively itself. Is there any love story in recent memory like this - flowers, innocence, sincerity and all?

And, because we can all do well to remember Bright Star and its prettiness - here are five more images from the film featuring flowers.





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    Valentines day 2016 Official website is the festival of Love.. 469 people has Recommended it.
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Reader Comments (10)

It's one of my favorite films of recent years too. An incredibly romantic film about impossible love. You didn't even post my favorite breathtaking image: Keats aloft high on a tree.

May 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

Whither Paul Schneider? It seemed like he was in everything for a little while, and I haven't seen him since this movie (which he was so good in.)

May 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

Lovely images as always with Campion shame Abbie was too modern and miscast.Schneider stole the film.

May 29, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermark

Cornish was amazing in this movie. Absolutely no miscast

May 29, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterferdi

Not period looking enough and the manner she shose to use was too modern miss in my opinion and i have seen it 3 times due to nat's continued love but i don't see it though she has moments but i don't think it's the performance everyone seems to think it is.

May 29, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermark

I loved the scene of the drapes blowing in the breeze. Beautiful.

May 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJasmine

Such an incredibly gorgeous movie.

May 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

Great writing Andrew! No, I don't think Cornish was miscasted, Mark. Fanny was supposed to be this person who was ahead of her times. So finding someone who is not too "classical" (e.g. Knightley) might not be too suitable. She is this fearless creature who is not afraid to love someone who might be inferior economically and in terms of social status.

I remembered the first time I watched it, I was sobbing in the end. The second time the impact is less, so I would still put Campion's "The Piano" as her no.1 film, followed by "Bright Star". However, her miniseries "Top of the Lake" was a disappointment to me...

May 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLars

Count me among those who love the film. And like Raul, I love the scene with Keats aloft in the tree. But my favorite must be the shot of the curtains in Fanny's room wafting in and out with the breeze.


May 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Yes, was going to say about the curtain scene. Oh, the light!
Also, butterflies!

May 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLars

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