So. I’m an English major. I took Brit Lit 2 as a requirement. I didn’t love it, but I did learn some biographical details about John Keats. I knew what I was getting into. My mother did not.
This is a very sweet movie about Keats’s romance with Fanny Brawne. The movie does an amazing job at showing the audience how in love they are, and making the advancement of their relationship seem natural.
My favorite parts of the movie were the letters between the two of them, which are beautifully written, and shows off what a good writer Keats was. Their romance is more beautiful in his own words than anything the filmmaker creates, though it is a visually lovely movie.
The thing about Keats is though (spoiler) is that he died when he was twenty-five. His genius as a poet was never recognized during his lifetime. He never had the money to get married. So it’s a very sad movie, absolutely tragic. It made my mother very sad, but I knew what I was getting into. Isn’t the fact that Keats died young one of those things that people generally know? Common facts about the romantic poets? Keats died young, Byron was slutty, Shelly’s wife was cooler than him, etc.
Ben Whishaw is good as Keats, but Abbie Cornish is phenomenal as Brawne. The story is told from her perspective, and would not have worked if the viewer didn’t care about her. She was a strong, independent minded young woman who cared about fashion, and her family. We understand why Keats would fall for her, and see how their romance changed her.
It’s a nice little movie. It’s sweet, and romantic, and tragic. It isn’t essential, but it feels true to the spirit of the writer it portrays, and I enjoyed it.