Despite the title of this post, I have done a reasonably good job of keeping my own internal hype down to manageable levels when it comes to Bright Star : The Return of Jane Campion. Maybe it's because I don't know a lot about John Keats (Ben Whishaw) the poet and I know nothing about Fannie Brawn (Abbie Cornish) his lover. But the poster is not helping me with expectations because I'm a sucker for a good doomed romance.
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,
Pillowed 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 in death.
If I know my Jane Campion films I also think it's fitting/clever that Abbie Cornish is the top in this relationship (visually speaking). If you look at the general iconography of romantic movie posters, this poster is fairly unusual. There are only a handful of templates, with three popular options: the lovers are separated by lines or boxes, the lovers are paired somehow as equals and the most popular which is that the lovers are pictured in some sort of embrace with the man on top or higher in your field of view. Some of this is merely due to size, men being taller. Some of this is due to billing, men often getting top placement even if they aren't as famous (for example: James McAvoy's higher billing than Keira Knightley for Atonement before he ever had a hit of his own -- she'd had a few)...
...but since everything involved with movie marketing is a carefully considered choice, some of it has to be a matter of decades of subtly ingrained and probably unconscious sexism about whose in charge of relationships. For instance, I love that even when movie posters leave reality out of the picture altogether (faces floating in clouds like Up Close and Personal) -- the lovers are still obviously in missionary position. Ha!
My favorite man on top poster is an old classic Splendor in the Grass (1961). I love how hysterical the text is and how it foregrounds the fear/danger of female sexuality that's totally obvious in so much of cinema (an artform that's still mostly a man's domain). But, then again, I've been rewatching Mad Men Season 1 in marathon form so gender roles, social expectations and gross inequalities are totally foregrounded at the moment. I'm seeing them everywhere! That show is so, so brilliant. And, TA-DA! it's totally Splendor in the Grass's contemporary. It's easy to see why Deanie (Natalie Wood) went so crazy in that film. It wasn't just small town Bud (Warren Beatty) she had to worry about. Plop her down into the big city and the swarming mad men would have broken her, too.
I bet this would make a great double feature
P.S. 2 Though I have this film pretty high in my current Oscar charts I waver continually about my confidence in that projection. I'm far more interested in this film for cinematic reasons (Campion) than for Oscar ones (biopic/romance). Bright Star is currently expected to open in limited release in mid September.