Thursday, October 22, 2009


By D.E.Levine

Director: Jane Campion
Writers: Jane Campion (screenplay)
Producers: Jan Chapman, Caroline Hewitt and Mark L. Rosen
Executive Producers: Francois Ivernel, Christine Langan, Cameron McCracken and David M. Thompson
Cast: Ben Whishaw, Abbie Cornish, Kerry Fox, Paul Schneider, Edie Martin, Thomas Sangster, Gerard Monaco, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Samuel Roukin, Amanda Hale et al.
Original Music: Mark Bradshaw
Running Time: 119 Minutes
Country of Origin: United Kingdom/AustrDirecalia
Language: English
Genre: Romance, Drama, Biographical

John Keats died penniless and under appreciated, from tuberculosis, at the age of 25. Yet, his poetry has lived on and is now considered some of the best and most beautiful. Who among us hasn't heard and remembered such classic lines as "A thing of beauty is a joy forever"?

Director Jane Campion has always taken on unusual projects and this is no exception. In his brief life, Keats had a romantic attachment to his Hampstead neighbor Fanny Brawne. The relationship was not supported by his friends or her family.

Campion is once again intrigued by the distance that class, time and culture puts between lovers as well as the feelings they can't articulate.

In 1818, the then 23 year-old poet noticed the fashion-conscious Brawne and assumed she was just another stylish minx. On her part, she was seriously unimpressed by literature.

Despite that, a relationship developed where she realized that learning and understanding the poetry that possessed him would strengthen their bond and he, in turn, was impressed when she offered to help when his younger brother became ill.

Despite the impediments of Keats' best friend Brown, who tried to stop the friendship, and the interference of her mother, Fanny built an unstoppable relationship with Keats that lasted until his death in Italy.

In this film, the cinematography and attention to detail in every frame is unbelievably beautiful. Imbued with sensuality and the poetry of Keats, which continues through the end credits, Campion achieves an intense feeling of romantic love.

In an era of Hollywood celluloid films, we may not have realized we craved a deeply moving emotional love story. In addition to a heartbreaking love story, the intensity of their passion helped Keats create some of the most beautiful and passionate poetry in existence.

Indeed, Campion and her won wonderful cast and crew have captured both the intensity and the romance in the relationship. The film is a masterpiece and perhaps one of its greatest virtues is that young people who see it are inspired to learn more about Keats and his work.