1 hour, 59 minutes
PG Parental Guidance Suggested.
for thematic elements, some sensuality, brief language and incidental smoking.
Abbie Cornish ... Fanny Brawne
Ben Whishaw ... John Keats
Paul Schneider ... Charles Brown
Samuel Barnett ... Joseph Severn
Kerry Fox ... Mrs. Brawne
Edie Martin ... "Toots" Brawne
Thomas Sangster ... Samuel Brawne
This biographical drama begins in England in 1818 in North Londonís Hampstead Village when a secret love affair begins between the 23 year old English
poet, John Keats (Ben Wishaw "Brideshead Revisited"), and the girl next door, Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish "Stop-Loss") , a beautiful, but outspoken, eighteen-year-old seamstress. This unlikely pair started at odds; he thinking her
a stylish fashionista, she unimpressed by literature in general and poetry in particular. It was the
illness of Keats' younger brother that drew them together. Keats was
touched by Fanny's efforts to care for the boy as he lay dying of tuberculosis and agreed to teach her something about poetry.
the time Fanny's alarmed mother (Kerry Fox "The Gathering") and Keats' best friend and guardian John Armitage Brown (Paul Schneider "Lars and the Real Girl") realize their attachment, the relationship has an unstoppable momentum.
The more Fanny flirts with Keats, the more hostile Mr. Brown becomes. What is unusual in these early scenes is that contrary to the social
customs of the time, Fanny has no problem sparring verbally with Keats'
Scottish overseer while taking the lead in her courtship with the
poet. Fanny spends most of her time sewing by day and
going dancing by night, but her most intense interest is in the moody, young poet. For his part Keats regularly feels sorry for himself, as he
cannot make a living with his poetry and considers himself a failure. But, before long Keats becomes as intensely and helplessly absorbed with Fanny as she is with him. "I have the feeling as if I were
dissolving," Keats wrote to her.
Despite the fact that Keats and Fanny are often chaperoned by Fannyís brother Samuel (Thomas Sangster "Nanny McPhee") and her irrepressible younger sister "Toots" (newcomer Edie Martin), the neighbors gossip as their romantic
obsession deepens. But their troubles mount as Keats falls ill and is sent by his friends to winter in Italy where the climate will be more friendly than in the cold, damp English countryside. But, alas, it's too late.
New Zealand-born director Jane Campion ("The Piano") has made a highly dramatic treat for romantics and those who take their poetry
seriously, but this overlong romantic drama will mostly appeal to poetry lovers, English Lit students and art house audiences.