Saturday, October 24, 2009


Based on a true story

Ben Whishaw: 23-year-old penniless poet John Keats
Paul Schneider: Scottish poet Charles Brown, Keats’s mentor, friend and confidant
Abbie Cornish: their next-door neighbour Fanny Brawne
Edie Martin: Fanny’s little sister Toots
Thomas Sangster: their brother Samuel
Kerry Fox: their mother

I suspect that women would like this film more than men would (at least in my case) since it is an unhurried story about the developing romance between an up-and-coming poet and a fairly well-to-do young lady. The emphasis is on the spoken word, of which there are many, and less on action. Action of any sort.

Consequently you must stay focused or the plodding pace will find you nodding off. And as far as the romantic aspect, forget it: because of the pre-Victorian values holding hands is about as good as it gets. For some maybe that’s enough.

The high production values results in the look and feel of the early 1800’s in England (1818 to be exact) with costume design meriting consideration for an Oscar. Fine performances all around although I didn’t take a liking to Mr. Brown at all.

for thematic elements, some sensuality, brief language and incidental smoking.

• After taking the book of poems from Toots, Fanny holds it in her right hand while she turns the pages with her left. She then slowly falls back on the bed but magically she now has the book in her left hand with her right waving gently.
• Fanny’s friend is wearing a cross on a necklace. In the close-up shots the cross is to the left but when the camera pulls back to a medium-close shot it is hanging neatly in the center.

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