Jane Campion directs this movie like a poem itself.
The rhythms, the pauses whilst you absorb the words, and the melodic verse.
The Story of Fanny Brawne and John Keats is as romantic as they get.
However, in this film it seems only one side of the equation feels to me like a true love.
That is the love Keats has for Fanny.
Fanny seems so selfish in her need to be with him, at whatever cost. She throws fits of anguish that come across more as temper tantrums. These do not seem to gel with the confident and together woman we have seen before.
So much praise has been heaped on Abby Cornish for this role, and in her quieter moments she shows the promise of a great actress (The movement of her eyes to give her words extra meaning was a joy to behold) but she seems forced when having to emote. Her feelings for Keats never feels like love, but rather a childlike obsession.
Paul Schneider as the man who tried to come between Fanny and John is delightful, however the horrid Scottish accent is far too distracting from the performance.
The true acting revelation of the film is Ben Whishaw as Keats. You perfectly understand why he falls for Fanny and how this giving of himself affects his so deeply. She is his muse, and through Whishaws eyes you feel his creative soul awaking with inspiration. It is a shame then that Cornish doesn't meet this level, as it throws off kilter what could have been the love film of the year.
Grade - B