Bright (movie) star

Bright Star

Starring Abbie Cornish, Ben Whishaw,
Paul Schneider
Directed by Jane Campion

This week’s review is written using the first three verses of John Keats’ Endymion: Book I as a model (with apologies to Mr. Keats).


A showy movie is a joy forever:
Its incandescence shines on; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A mental image for us, and a heap
Full of sweet dreams, and patrons’ quiet breathing.
Therefore, in every screening that is spooling
A flowery film to bind us to a berth
Sparks a despondence of the mire and mirth
Of noble poets, of the gloomy days
Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways
Made real for viewing. Yet, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the light, the tune
Cast old and young, emoting a heady swoon
For simple sheep; and such are reviewers
With the staid world they live in; and skewers
That for themselves a precious movie make
’Gainst the bad season; a costumed break,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair acting blooms.
And such, too, is the grandeur of festoons
They have imagined for the mighty dead;
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
An endless film refreshed by snack and drink
Pouring unto us from the counter’s sink.

Nor do we merely feel the essences
For two long hours, even as the knees
That cramp and fatigue as the end comes soon.
Dear viewer says to self, “Such doom and gloom
The passion poesy, seems infinite,
Haunt us till we emerge to bright sunlight
Unto our souls, and bound to us fast,
That, whether the acting is swell by the cast,
They will linger with us, and we will cry.”

Therefore, ’tis with full happiness that I?
Will trace the story of the film Bright Star.
The very music of the name has gone?
Into my being, and each pleasant scene?
Is recalled with an evanescent sheen
Of butterflies that flutter. I begin,
Now while I cannot tell a lie and sin,
Now while the early reviews are just new,
And run the gamut of praise to slew
About the life and times and travails of
Its delicate John Keats, and the diary tales
Bring to the multiplex. And, as the ear
Grows tired in all the talk, I’ll just steer
My review thus, for many quiet hours,
With streams of verse and ribbons and flowers.
Many and many a verse I hope to write,
Before the dailies deadline comes to smite,
Hide in deep verbiage; and yet to tease
Hum about a sweet film that seeks to please.
I must be near the middle of my review.
O, may no summer season, spare of view
See it all finished: but let Autumn bold,
With a tinge of unrequited love sold,
Be all about me when I make an end.
And now at once, adventuresome, I send
My slight thought onto paper with finesse:
There let its trumpet blow, and quickly dress
My uncertain view with glee, that I may speed
Easily onward, to the next filmic screed.

Doug Young, The Statesman’s film critic, provides various perspectives in his reviews, thereby fulfilling his role as a master film critic.