Jane Campion directs Abbie Cornish, Ben Whishaw and Paul Schneider in this romantic biopic following the chaste romance between dying poet John Keats and steadfast society woman Fanny Brawne.
Hampstead when it was still a country village rather than the interior of London. The characters ramble and trudge through its leafy copses and heathland not quite touching but clearly connecting. Cornish is grand here and her resolute admirer has three distinct obstacles. The object of her affections is a penniless ditherer… who happens to churn out poetry that will stand the test of time. His best friend (played memorably by Paul Schneider) is a cad who wants to keep the talent and companionship all to himself. She being a woman in upper society can easily be excluded from the salons, decisions and interactions that will define her happiness. All that said, Campion’s touch is almost too light here. Excessively delicate. It is brave for her to ease up and try to make a film that wears its inherent feminism less obviously but little takes it place. There’s not nearly enough but beauty to sustain our attention for two hours and I can’t be the only one who checked out long before the inevitable began to shut the narrative down. It feels like a film solely for girls who like their men helpless, sickly and dewey eyed. Non-Threatening Boys readers will get the most out of it.
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