Fanny Brawne is a heroine you expect to find in a Jane Austen novel; a woman with a penchant for poncey poets, chaste passion and Regency-era finery. Brawne is not a figment of early chick-lit, however, but the real-life inspiration for much of the poetry produced by Britain's beloved John Keats. Brawne and Keats engaged in a heated (but ridiculously virtuous) romance for several years, spending long hours together while Keats read her poetry and generally fawned over her. But as any reader of Jane Austen knows, passionate love does not always equal a happy life together. Enter the two great romantic stumbling blocks of the 19th century: class issues...and tuberculosis. Keats was broke as a joke, and Brawne's family was none too pleased at the prospect of her marrying into poverty. And then, at the height of their mutual obsession, Keats was struck down by tuberculosis at the young age of 25. Brawne died in anonymity some 40 years later, but her children kept many of the letters and volumes that Keats bestowed on her and released them, feeding Keats' posthumous popularity in the late 1800s. Jane Campion's Bright Star tells the story of Keats and his beloved Brawne in a period drama with all of the directorial flourishes only Campion can bring, enriching the story with striking visuals and bringing out stunning performances from actors Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw. Bright Star plays at The Modern Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell St., at 5 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 4:15 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $8.50. Visit themodern.org/magnolia.html.
Dec. 26-27, 2009