Watching: Bright Star

The love story of John Keats and his muse Fanny Brawne—lo, things do not end happily! I hope this is not a surprise to you, but you have been spoiled nonetheless. A gorgeous film, as one would expect from Jane Campion, although a fairly stagnant tale, since there is only so much DRAMA to be forced from a certain decline, and what's there feels overlong, slow to start and repetitive thereafter. Thus one lucky gent behind me spent half his dime on snoring. What burns brightest—beyond the words—are the performances, each of them perfectly pitched and wondrously human, though I was most touched by Paul Schneider (who up till now I've known only as an asshole on "Parks and Recreation") here playing a different kind of asshole as Keats's friend and sometime patron Charles Brown, and Kerry Fox as Fanny's über -patient mama. Then, too, there's Fanny's young brother Samuel (played by Thomas Sangster), who as the only male in the family is her constant escort, a sort of silent specter always trailing behind, struggling to fill a role twice his size and far beyond his understanding.