Valentine’s Day 2010 Movie Pick: Bright Star
One of my favorite ways to spend Valentine’s Day, were I not so cynical, would be a day with a few of my favorite movies. I might be biased, but it’s romantic, relaxing and relatively effortless. Judging by a couple of titles out now and aimed at sweethearts all over, a less-cynical version of me would not be alone.
If you choose to spend your Valentine’s Day this way this year, do yourself, your relationship and humanity a favor: stay away from multiplexes and crap like Dear John and Valentine’s Day. I suggest, instead, watching the tragically overlooked 2009 Jane Campion film, Bright Star.
Based on the last three years in John’s Keats short life and his love affair with girl-next-door Fanny Brawne during that period, Star offers a kind of visceral, visual emotional gratification that is difficult to pinpoint. Without the use of expensive visual effects, the poignant images aim straight at your senses to sweep you off your feet much in the same way that Keats’ poems might. Love and heartbreak are only sporadically outwardly or bluntly expressed (at least when compared to similar films), and yet something about the whole affair rings truer and more tangible than any other romantic film in the last year. The same can be said for just about every frame in the movie. Each image is instantly, recognizably cinematic and yet you half expect such vivid detail to pop out from within the screen and come to life at any moment. If it is true that cinema is, at its heart, a purely visual medium, then Jane Campion and her cinematographer Greig Fraser have really nailed it with Bright Star. It is a film worth seeing any day of the year, but if this little holiday is what it takes for people to finally discover it, please go for it. At long last, a biopic that is worthy of its also brilliant subject.
If Bright Star does not seem like something that would be up your alley, you can always be a little more radical with something like The Hurt Locker. I offer the guarantee of a great film. I will not guarantee the future of your relationship.