Director Jane Campion's film Bright Star is a depiction of the romance between the doomed young poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and his neighbor, Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish) in England in the early 19th century, and this short soundtrack album contains composer Mark Bradshaw's appropriate musical cues, played by him on keyboards with a string quartet. It also features the principals in the film, reciting bits of dialogue, letters Keats wrote Brawne (and letters Campion imagines Brawne might have written Keats), and, inevitably, Keats' poetry, including "La Belle Dame sans Merci" and "Ode to a Nightingale." The latter, which accompanies the closing credits, is recited over Mozart's "Serenade in Bb, K. 361, Adagio," which is also presented in a choral version during the course of the film. Cornish recites "Bright Star" in a choked and sobbing voice over a Bradshaw composition. In the same way, the film contrasts the formality of the setting with the passion of the lovers, and the album will serve as a souvenir to those who were swept away by that emotion.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann