In keeping with the screenplay’s muted tenderness, the aesthetic qualities of Bright Star are serviceable but not flashy. Janet Patterson’s production design is appropriately minimalist, as is Greig Frasier’s pretty photography. Mark Bradshaw’s music is not immediately memorable, but still lovely. What does draw attention to itself, however, are Patterson’s costumes. Brawne, something of a 19th century fashionista, is often clothed in pinks and reds, helping her to stand out amidst the greys and blues that usually dominate the frame.
But the fancy clothing would be worthless if not filled by a strong actor, and that’s just what Abbie Cornish is. Her performance is the showiest one of the cast, but she never embellishes. Impressive as well is Paul Schneider as Keats’ caddish friend Charles Brown, who is annoyed with Fannie for distracting the brilliant poet from his work.
This is the sort of project that seems right up Oscar’s alley. Noms for Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actress, Cinematography, Score, Art Direction, and Costume Design seem quite probable.
*** out of ****