I get it now. Ben Whishaw, that is. I’ve always loved him as an actor, in the various roles I’ve seen him in. He’s fabulously talented. Love him as “Q” in Bond. Blown away by his performance as Freddie Lyon in The Hour. He was the best part of Brideshead Revisited. Was extremely disappointed he wasn’t the one chosen to be the Doctor, twice. (But I do love Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor and I love and am excited about Peter Capaldi as Doctor number…whatever…TBD after November 23, I guess!) So, what I’m getting at is that I’ve always loved Ben Whishaw’s work, and consider myself a fan…but not a fangirl…
I finally saw the brilliant, poignant, sweet and devastating John Keats biopic Bright Star. And I now get the Whishaw-mania that sweeps Tumblr daily. I had wanted to see the film ages ago, but never ended up going since the film mainly played at art house theaters after getting rave reviews at Cannes and other film festivals. The film stars Whishaw as John Keats and Abbie Cornish as Fanny Brawne, the romantic and headstrong girl he had a doomed romance with during the (*spoiler* if you are unfamiliar with history) last three years of his tragically cut short life.
A great deal of the dialogue from this film comes from Keats own letters to Fanny, as well as letters from his friends. All of that makes for a particularly tender, compelling and sweet story. Only, it’s not a story because it actually happened.
Theirs is a love that could never be, first due to money, then due to illness and separation.
You could call this film a bodice-ripper, but there is no ripping. It’s filled with tender and swoony moments, heaving bodices and trembling. But it’s absolutely sincere and not at all cheesy or over done. It’s genuine and very heart-felt. You feel the delirium that they feel at discovering this kind of love that is so overwhelming you’d almost be afraid of it’s power.
Giving in will hurt you, but not giving in will hurt you more and fill you with a life of regrets.
If you haven’t seen Bright Star, I highly recommend it. It is beautiful, and tender and genuine. I felt connected to both Fanny Brawne and John Keats, and despite knowing his life’s tragic end, I found myself hoping for a happy ending for him, and for them, to be together.
I read that after Keats’ death at 25 years of age, she mourned him for six years and never removed his ring. A love like that, what would it be like? A love like that would be a gift.
Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art–
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors–
No–yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever–or else swoon to death.
- John Keats
All this to say, Whishawers? (Is that what you call yourselves?) I count myself in your number, now. I get it.
Query: What movies or TV show roles have you seen that were responsible for you fangirling over someone you never thought you’d fangirl about before? Feel free to answer (with pictures, if you can!) in the comments section!