Gorgeous and anchored by a flinty performance from Abbie Cornish, it’s a mystery as to why this Jane Campion period piece fades away rather than catches fire. Cornish plays Fanny Brawne, a seamstress who had a love affair with John Keats up to his youthful death. Campion beautifully weaves Keats’ poetry with her romantic imagery, while the audacious costuming makes Brawne’s design work a Campion-like feminist gesture. In the end, though, the period trappings get the best of the director – she isn’t able to transcend them the way she did with The Piano.
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