Campion's big-sisterly encouragement of Cornish's lovely, openhearted performance -- and Whishaw's well-matched response -- results in a character instantly, intimately recognizable to anyone remembering her own first love.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
The achievement of Jane Campion's learned and ravishing new film is to trace the comminglings and collisions of poetic creation and amatory passion.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
A deeply felt and intelligent film, one of those that has grown in my mind on a second viewing; it is almost certainly the best of Campion's career, exposing The Piano as overrated and overegged.
Peter Bradshaw - Guardian [UK]
Those who love language and particularly poetic verse will savor the dialogue, as well as the visual splendor of the film. With its gorgeously framed shots and superb craftsmanship, Bright Star is a thing of beauty.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
Bright Star is ripe with the eroticism of a proud woman being seduced by words and undone by emotions. If that's not worth more than a year of Megan Fox movies, I can't help you.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
England 1818 seems like a Fragonard garden, the pastoral height of civilization. Conversation is witty; summer feels eternal.
J. Hoberman - Village Voice
A film that avoids any trace of musty reverence for a long-dead poet by concentrating our senses on the breathtaking girl next door.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
Greig Fraser's cool cinematography offsets the heat in Campion's ecstatically literate screenplay, which quotes Keats' handiwork all the way through the end credits. It sounds like music.
Amy Biancolli - Houston Chronicle
If you don't mind the inert drama at the core, Bright Star at least gives you plenty of eye candy.
Christopher Kelly - Dallas Morning News
Silence and stillness, as well as the restrained desire of its lovers, are given their due. After the clatter and rush of the summer flicks, patience is demanded but also rewarded.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
What keeps all this from seeming overmelodramatic is Schneider's huge performance, which is too hilarious. All costume dramas need actors this rude.
David Edelstein - New York Magazine
There's a full complement of geese and mud and some women in bonnets, but Campion avoids finery and ceremony. She doesn't show off the period; she triumphantly makes it a time in which people live as best they can.
David Denby - New Yorker
What Campion does is seek visual beauty to match Keats' verbal beauty. There is a shot here of Fanny in a meadow of blue flowers that is so enthralling it beggars description.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
In its way Campion's film is a thing of beauty, but its characters' inner lives must be taken on faith.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
The best costumers, set designers, and property masters can't conjure up the mental and emotional spaces of a simpler era; that requires a filmmaker who knows the virtue of quiet, patience, and attentiveness.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
Intimate as a whisper, immediate as a blush, and universal as first love, the PG-rated film positively palpitates with the sensual and spiritual.
Carrie Rickey - Philadelphia Inquirer
For a film about love, Bright Star is curiously cold, more pretty than emotional. True stars have heat.
Tom Long - Detroit News
Bright Star shines brightly indeed, not only on the strength of a couple of powerhouse performances, but also as a look back at a time when poets were rock stars, with all the skinny British attitude that implies.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
Breaking through any period piece mustiness with piercing insight into the emotions and behavior of her characters.
Todd McCarthy - Variety
Bright Star is literate, romantic and high-minded.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
It's refreshing to see romantic drama where credulity hasn't been stretched by the magic of Hollywood or the fantasies of the mind.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
Christine Champ - Film.com
Campion, who won fans with The Piano (1993) and lost them with the dismal In the Cut (2003) here returns to the top of her form.
Jonathan F. Richards - Film.com
Campion has constructed a highly classical narrative, one driven by archaic British dialogue and the mannerisms to match it.
Eric Kohn - indieWIRE
[Star, Abbie] Cornish shines.
Rick Groen - Globe and Mail
Campion -- who also wrote the screenplay, inspired by British poet Andrew Motion's biography of Keats -- tells the story of Keats and Fanny in delicate, painterly colors, layered in such a way that they're vividly vital.
Stephanie Zacharek - Salon.com
The rare film about the life of an artist that is itself a work of art.
Dana Stevens - Slate
There's enough material here for a solid, heartfelt period love story -- it may not make viewers swoon the way a good Jane Austen adaptation might, but it's well enough made to deliver an emotional impact.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
Australian director Jane Campion's gorgeously filmed Festival de Cannes Competition entry "Bright Star" may not be a joy forever but it will do until the next joy comes along.
Ray Bennett - Hollywood Reporter
Writer-director Jane Campion has fashioned a fascinating mix of contradictions. Her film is at once gritty and ethereal, grounded and romantic, quaint and contemporary.
Christy Lemire - Associated Press
A literate, lyrical love story in the age of Hollywood crass. I must be dreaming.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
Bright Star satisfies a hunger we may not have known we had, a hunger for an exquisitely done, emotional love story that marries heartbreaking passion to formidable filmmaking restraint...
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
Campion's film avoids any taint of costume drama frippery. Yes, Fanny starts off as a Regency-era fashionista, but Cornish and Whishaw's deeply felt performances give us a real sense of the beating hearts beneath the frock coats and bonnets.
Jason Best - Movie Talk
to film asxoleitai me ton erwta toys, apo th skopia ths Fanny, apo th skopia petaloydas poy sboyrizei anemela mexri na brei sto libadi poihth na toy royfhksei to nektar
Joseph Proimakis - Movies for the Masses
Mark Kermode - BBC Radio Five Live
The emotions found in Bright Star are raw and passionate, and are magnificently presented in the most simplest and natural moments.
Matthew Pejkovic - Matt's Movie Reviews
Romance and poetry have no time to sag
Marty Mapes - Movie Habit
Gorgeous and anchored by a flinty performance from Abbie Cornish, it's a mystery as to why this Jane Campion period piece fades away rather than catches fire.
Josh Larsen - LarsenOnFilm
High-Toned, Tragic, Exalted Soap
Janos Gereben - Entertainment Insiders
Janet Patterson has come up with an exquisite wardrobe for Fanny that magically suits both the biographical back-story and Cornish's fine physique. Let's hope Oscar agrees.
S. James Wegg - JWR
The plot doesn't have much to go on, so much is imagined but not demonstrably true, with acting, production design and period costume hopefully covering for accuracy.
Donald J. Levit - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Has a disarming quality to it, depicting a romance not as torrid waves of drama but as something that is born awkward and steadily gains its holding.
Jeffrey Chen - Window to the Movies
A movie in the inimitable PBS Masterpiece Theater style. John Keats falls in love, gets TB and dies. At least there are no Exxon commercials.
Louis Proyect - rec.arts.movies.reviews
The film appears to be flirting with the idea of superficiality and romance and wit and depth of character but never really explores any tack at length, except the agonies of their love.
Karina Montgomery - Cinerina
An intoxicating and intelligent romance film with strong fleshed-out characters that defy all the cliches and pulpy attributes that usually plague this genre.
Thomas Caldwell - Cinema Autopsy
This is tragic young love in all its overwrought glory and agony. This is not the reserved, stylish sort of love one seen in Jane Austen's works.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
Oh Bright Star, wouldst thou were a great film... but thou art not. Thou art good but bitsy.
Giles Hardie - smh.com.au
But the film is more about the impact of love on both their lives than about the impact of his poetry, which wasn't widely recognised until after his death. Life's a bitch.
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
Like a bright star that shines from the heavens, Jane Campion's film about the doomed love between the poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne is exquisitely beautiful, but keeps us at arm's length.
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
The most perfect film of the year.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Jane Campion's film is as lyrical as you might expect but it's also enlivened with a bracing air of irreverence.
Sandra Hall - Sydney Morning Herald
Your heart will break, your head will swoon, and you will hope against hope for a happy ending that history will not permit.
Leigh Paatsch - Herald Sun (Australia)
One of the year's pleasures for the eyes, mind and heart -- a bright star indeed.
Des Partridge - Courier Mail (Australia)
Equal parts a lovely daydream and heaving, lovelorn sobs, Bright Star is something of an intimate masterpiece.
Kate Jinx - Concrete Playground
Campion takes her time to tell her tender story, but the film rewards with a conclusion I found incredibly moving. This is certainly one of the best films of the year.
David Stratton - At the Movies (Australia)
I think it's her most restrained film, in a lot of ways. It's very classic. It's very poetic. It embraces Keats poetry in the making of it.
Margaret Pomeranz - At the Movies (Australia)
A lush romantic drama where the best elements are the least romantic.
Wesley Lovell - Oscar Guy
Wesley Lovell - Cinema Sight
This is a worthwhile story told with lukewarm emotion. The doomed love comes off as less a tragedy than a pity. The background makes this story more interesting than the foreground does.
Mark R. Leeper - rec.arts.movies.reviews
Sit and savour this marvellous film until the lights come up.
Philip French - Observer [UK]
Bright Star is an admirable film made by a superb craftsman, but for me, Campion fails to deliver the big emotional punch she hopes to land.
Cosmo Landesman - Times [UK]
A sedate, intelligent and quietly sensuous film.
Alistair Harkness - Scotsman
Bright Star deals with the sonnets and the bonnets - top marks to the production and costume designer, Janet Patterson - with wit and restraint, and proves that a chaste romance needn't lack for passion, or poetry.
Anthony Quinn - Independent
Bright Star is that rare and upbraiding thing, a film - perhaps the last one of the year - that seeks not to jam your emotions or scare you silly, but asks you to think about words.
Andrew O'Hagan - This is London
There's a fine line between fragile sensitivity and wimpishness, and Ben Whishaw tramples all over it. He is the drippiest British actor since the Merchant Ivory heyday of James Wilby.
Christopher Tookey - Daily Mail [UK]
A wonderfully realised account of intoxicating love and a movie with spirit and soul. Don't expect it to set the box office on fire though.
Simon Reynolds - Digital Spy
Steadfastness, truth and a simple, blazing, incandescent humanity. This is a literary life story in which life, for once, is the meaningful word.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
[Bright Star] may have inspired some beautiful poetry but, here, provokes mere yawns.
David Edwards - Daily Mirror [UK]
Despite being visually stunning, it's as dry as hell.
Robbie Collin - News of the World
This shrugs off the musty restraints of costumed stereotypes and concentrates exclusively on the slowburning affair as Keats finds himself "dissolving" as love draws him in.
Tim Evans - Sky Movies
Sumptuous attention to detail, lush photography and beautifully understated performances
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
Quietly shedding all the fussy baggage of 'heritage drama', Campion gives us a moving account of Keats' great love and tragic death. A film of pictorial beauty and authenticity, graced with a fine cast.
Philip Kemp - Total Film
Beautiful cinematography, exceptional performances and an admirable sense of restraint combine to make it one of the most gorgeous and satisfying period dramas in recent memory.
Allan Hunter - Daily Express
A heavenly delight.
Dean Essner - Sun Online
It simmers rather than sizzles, shimmers rather than sears. But possession of a Y chromosome is by no means an obstacle to enjoyment of it.
Dean Essner - GQ Magazine [UK]
Campion has created another resonant paean to love's pain and joy, and gives new life to John Keats, too often now associated with dusty school books.
Liz Beardsworth - Empire Magazine
Dramatically static from first to final frame, it charts the non-progress of the central relationship as a series of nineteenth-century feints and counter-feints.
Kevin Maher - Little White Lies
Without major tension, conflict or crisis, Brawne and Keats simply mope about, moon at each other, talk about literature and wait for the great poet to die from tuberculosis.
Kevin Maher - Times [UK]
An eloquent, well-crafted return to form - and return to corsets and period frocks - for Jane Campion, who uses the character of Fanny Brawne, the survivor, to give a unique perspective on the creative, terminal period in the life of John Keats.
Daniel Etherington - Film4
There's a spellbinding, painterly quality to the way Campion depicts the changing seasons (between 1819 and 1820) and it sets a mood that complements the poet's vivid and sensuous style.
Stella Papamichael - Radio Times
A combination of unstuffy dialogue, wise casting, unselfconscious performances and sensuous but never pretty photography makes Campion's version of the nineteenth century feel current but not anachronistic.
Dave Calhoun - Time Out
I wanted to love it because it's so damn literary and exquisitely put together but ultimately it felt like a very long two hours.
Richard Knight - Windy City Times
A beautiful film and a strikingly truthful one, and not because it waxes too philosophic or throws down the intellectual gauntlet.
Brett McCracken - Christianity Today
A thoroughly engaging, beautifully directed and superbly acted romantic drama that packs a powerful emotional punch.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
If John Keats is the catalyst who inspired Miss Campion to make this film, and us to go see it, it is Fanny Brawne, the bright star of the film's title, who makes it worthwhile.
Beverly Berning - culturevulture.net
In presenting Keats as much in Brawne's eyes as she in his, we watch Fanny's growing interest in John, we wait with her for his letters, we share in her anguish when all seems lost -- Campion suggests that he was her "bright star" as well
Jen Yamato - Cinematical
Gorgeous to behold, the film also devastates with its meticulous portrait of impassioned lovers against whom fate conspires so mightily.
John Wirt - Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
Impressive conventional and competent PBS-like biopic on the romantic poet John Keats.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Masterpieces of literature-to-film are a rare breed; this film falls short with satisfaction.
Matthew Sorrento - Film Threat
Sensitively, slowly explores the interplay between a living, breathing muse and an inspired artist. Quietly makes a Regent-era, circumspect romance palpable.
Nora Lee Mandel - Film-Forward.com
Plays by the strict and proper rules of the period genre, resulting in a predominantly frigid and impersonal love story.
Sean O'Connell - Charlotte Weekly
For a movie so sensuously mounted, it's remarkably grounded.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
Parental Content Review
Jim Judy - Screen It!
The handsome-looking period drama takes material that could have been portrayed in lurid and sensationalistic detail but instead portrays it with real sensitivity and class, without going too far in showing a passionate romantic relationship.
Jeff Vice - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
A love story like they don't make any more, except I'm not certain that they ever really did.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
Bright Star is one of those rare films that critics wait for and moviegoers can't wait to tell their friends about. Oscar nominations may be on their way at last.
Diana Saenger - ReviewExpress.com
Elegant and incadescent, it revels in its innate intelligence.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
With "Bright Star," writer/director Jane Campion has made a film that is like a flip, 'civilized,' version of "The Piano's" exotic wilderness.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
should inspire current and future generations to explore Keats and other Romantic poets
John A. Nesbit - Old School Reviews
It was so refreshing to see a story told about true love that contained honest chemistry. Ben Wishaw should be nominated for Oscar right now.
Kevin McCarthy - BDK Reviews
With 'Bright Star,' New Zealand's Jane Campion ('The Piano') has managed to write and direct an engrossing film about a man whose achievements can only be found on the page and in the heart.
Dan Lybarger - eFilmCritic.com
There are nice bits throughout, and your heart can't help but go out to these impassioned young lovers whom you know are doomed. But Bright Star is too often tarnished by the ordinary.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
This film about the doomed love affair of poet John Keats and his neighbor Fanny Brawne left me underwhelmed.
Robert W. Butler - Kansas City Star
It's immediately refreshing in its unabashed flow of feeling, but it also wields a cumulative punch.
Michael Sragow - Baltimore Sun
A movie as incandescent as its title.
Joanne Weintraub - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
A piece of perfect cinematic poetry, a film that doesn't just capture the work, love, and life of a legendary poet but does do with vibrant, relatable, timeless emotion, innocence, and purity.
Brian Tallerico - Movie Retriever
It is a great film about a great love.
Bruce Kirkland - Jam! Movies
One man's woe is the audience's tedium.
Tricia Olszewski - Washington City Paper
Campion's story of a tubercular poet and his lady love recasts the hackneyed old stanza in refreshing new verse.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle
Has Lady Jane gone as chaste as the PG rating on Bright Star suggests? You have no idea.
Justin Strout - Orlando Weekly
What animates this dramatically constrained film are the lively words and the vitality of nature. An image of butterflies blooming in a bedroom is Keats' worldview in miniature.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Bright Star isn't in the same ballpark as The Piano - heck, it's not even in the same time zone - but it's the first Campion movie since then to warrant 10 Best consideration.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
Bright Star is a rich, sumptuous and, yes, challenging experience.
Randy Myers - San Jose Mercury News
It's not only the best possible ode to Keats' work, this lovely gentle poetic film, it's the best possible ode to Fanny, as well: If she made him feel the way this movie feels, that must have been a powerful love indeed.
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Bright Star does manage to recharge the director's creative batteries, with material that allows Campion to exercise her amazing ability to depict love's ever scarring touch.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
I love the way Campion lets the camera rest on an image. Especially when the image is Aussie dish Cornish, who plays Keats' starry-eyed admirer. Has an actress ever been photographed so flatteringly and at such length?
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
[O]ne of the finest films about the life of an artist ever made.
Brandon Fibbs - BrandonFibbs.com
Fanny deserved more than just a generic place in the heavens as a Great Lover Thwarted by Fate. Bright Star is only second-magnitude.
Jeffrey Gantz - Boston Phoenix
... [Jane] Campion is on solid ground here, and she treads it respectfully.
Jim Lane - Sacramento News & Review
This is definitely a for-the-femmes flick with its story of romance, elegant dialog, fine chemistry between stars Whitshaw and Cornish and outstanding production design, lensing and costume.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Bright Star is a well-acted, well-crafted but excruciatingly tepid romantic film about a subject that will attract poetry lovers and yet test even their considerable patience.
Connie Ogle - Miami Herald
A little too genteel for my tastes. Or rather, it would be were it not for Paul Schneider's complex and often refreshingly rude performance.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Whatever else it is--a romantic biopic without compromise--it is also, and for me, mostly, a celebration of the huge talent that is Abbie Cornish.
Jules Brenner - Cinema Signals
An occasionally dull, very gentle romantic drama that could have used more tension and a sharper screenplay, but it's compensated by a radiant and enchanting performance by Abbie Cornish along with exquisite cinematography.
Avi Offer - NYC Movie Guru
Romantic, moving film brings poet -- and poetry -- to life.
S. Jhoanna Robledo - Common Sense Media
Cornish and Whishaw give powerful, unforgettable performances, with Cornish assured of an Oscar nomination. Other cast members, such as Schneider and Kerry Fox as Fanny's mother, make the film even stronger.
Randy Myers - Contra Costa Times
What in lesser hands could have become an immaculately observed period piece instead soars to creative heights with its literate and knowing script.
Richard Mowe - Boxoffice Magazine
Shallow, slow and Mr. Brown is an irritant.
Victoria Alexander - FilmsInReview.com
The movie hovers just above moments of fact and reportage, resting almost totally on a cloud of passion and emotion. The fact that Keats was one of the greatest romantic poets is merely a bonus and an excuse for some gorgeous, glorious dialogue.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
Every frame of this exquisite period romance features an attention to detail, a passion for literature and an intense, fully clothed, pre-Victorian sexiness that suggest a director in something close to rapture.
Amy Biancolli - San Francisco Chronicle
A small film, but also an uncommonly lovely work.
Geoff Berkshire - Metromix.com
A work blessed with keen insight into the heart and soul.
Robert Levin - Film School Rejects
A mellow, pictorially attractive period piece in which the characters seem actually to breathe rather than merely pose, as so often happens in such films.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
a smart, visual dialectic on the ease of showing certain creative processes and the impossibility of documenting others.
Chris Cabin - Filmcritic.com
Bright Star seems to be a lot about very little, a miniature projected to Imax size. So much goes unspoken that what remains seems almost trite.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
It's a studied movie that gives itself over to bursts of intensity, and between them sometimes threatens to become as spellbound by its subjects as they become with each other.
Keith Phipps - AV Club
The brightest star in this leisurely retelling of the truth behind one of John Keats's most famous poems is not what it says, but how it looks.
Joanna Langfield - The Movie Minute
Writer-director Jane Campion approaches the tale with an artiste's respectful solemnity, but it too often comes off like Twilight transplanted across oceans and centuries.
Keith Uhlich - Time Out New York
A spellbinding story of true love written and directed by Jane Campion that showcases Abbie Cornish as an accomplished actress.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
A period piece typified by restraint, delicacy and the romantic spirit of its renowned subject.
Nick Schager - Lessons of Darkness
Through a lush filmic vernacular, Campion shows how these two figures were not only fiercely devoted to their work but also kindred spirits.
Ed Gonzalez - Slant Magazine
...an ordeal for the bulk of its hopelessly overlong running time...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
a rare pleasure of unrequited love that never dips the poet's ink into the syrup of sentimentality, but rather allows its characters to invest passion from their gently articulated imaginations.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
As might be expected, director Jane Campion keeps an assertive woman as the film's center, a deliberately paced romance but hardly a chick-flick.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
For all the exquisite cinematography and fine performances, Bright Star remains curiously unaffecting.
Jonathan Crocker - Little White Lies
Bright Star does nothing new (if it wasn't based of fact, it would be accused of adhering too closely to formula) but it does it very well, displaying real craft and benefiting from terrific performances.
Jamie Graham - Total Film
A thing of beauty is a joy forever, but a thing of plodding inevitability is just two hours of my time amiably wasted.
Mike D'Angelo - AV Club
Director Jane Campion has a knack for portraying female characters so intimately that she seems to get beneath their skin. She does it again in Bright Star, an exquisite piece of film-making.
Sukhdev Sandhu - Daily Telegraph
Jane Campion has turned the short and doomed affair between John Keats and Fanny Brawne into an enthralling film that tenderly rips your heart to shreds.
James Christopher - Times [UK]
Bright Star, a story of loss and love illustrated by poetry, seldom does more than gently move us. It is a fine film to look at and listen to but there are heights it fails to scale.
Derek Malcolm - This is London
Dave White - Movies.com
A solid, rather restrained rendition of John Keats' final years, Campion's period piece avoids pitfalls and cliches of the biopic genre, and while not illuminating of Keats as a unique poet, it does convey the taste of first love.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
It is Campion's most fully realised, satisfying achievement in a long while and will be warmly embraced as a prestige item with awards potential.
Allan Hunter - Screen International
Paul Gallagher - Future Movies UK
Dean Essner - National Post
Tony Medley - tonymedley.com