Box art for Bright Star

Bright Star


Academy Award® winner Jane Campion (The Piano) directs this touching, timeless tale of the passionate romance between English poet John Keats and his beloved muse.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 12
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
3 out of 5
2 out of 5
1 out of 5
0 out of 5

Romantic, moving film unlikely to interest tweens.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this moving period romance is tame on the surface -- there's virtually no violence, sex, strong language or other iffy content -- but it has an undercurrent of sexual longing fueled by social barriers that complicate the characters' ability to be with the people they love. And though the story is told with a great deal of grace, it does have a bit of grit (but virtually no violence, sex, strong language, or other iffy content). First, there's the consumption that finally claims poet John Keats -- its progression is delicately but truthfully depicted. Also, Keats' best friend is dismissive of those with no interest in poetry (i.e., Fanny, who's passionate about sewing instead), and there's some discussion about Fanny's virginity, but the conversations are oblique (and nothing more than kissing and hand-holding is shown on screen).

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about John and Fanny's relationship. Why do so many characters seem to think that they don't belong together? What were the stakes for young lovers at that time, especially for women? How did those stakes vary by social class?
  • Why do you think Keats doesn't press Fanny for a physical relationship? Was society's view of sex different in their time?
  • Does it seem like poetry was more appreciated during Keats' than it is now? If yes, why? Who are the famous poets' modern-day counterparts?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 30
    see all Bright Star reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: 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, Friday, September 25, 2009

Fresh: 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, Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fresh: 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, Thursday, September 24, 2009

Audience Reviews

4 stars

One of the most underrated films of 2009, brilliantly directed, gorgeously photographed and wonderfully acted. Left me a little speechless at the end. Look out for Ben Wishaw's reading at the end of the credits-just a brilliant delivery and a wonderful voice! Wonderful performances by Abbie Cornish and Ben Wishaw.Look out for Ben Wishaw's reading at the end of the credits-just a brilliant delivery and a wonderful voice! Highly recommended

- SarahG1988, Monday, September 13, 2010

2 stars

Its as boring as my dad.

- Alireza64ir, Thursday, September 2, 2010

4 stars

Ever wish the fictitious on-screen couple in a movie would fall apart so you could get some action with the leading lady? Yeah, neither have I. Save that for people who get emotionally involved in movies. That's not to say her character didn't make me hot in all those tailored 1800s outfits. Mmmm, girl. I'd watch it again. Even though the second half was, at times, almost unbearably sad. Something tells me I'll be on the lookout for more films featuring either Ben Whishaw or Abbie Cornish. After I watched "I'm Not There," I was patiently waiting another film with Ben Whishaw in it. Lo and behold, here's one. Better yet, my mom rented this movie and lent it to me. My mom NEVER rents excellent movies. Without my guidance. Total mindfuck.

- djdemersseman, Thursday, August 12, 2010