Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bright Star Trailer

It's here.



Trailer voiceovers always sound like somebody is reading a children's book aloud, straining for light short story affect or blustery novelistic import. This one falls somewhere inbetween... light novella import? In truth I wish trailers wouldn't have them at all... I always want to just snatch the book from the disembodied voice to look at the pictures for myself.


And what pictures.

It's way too soon to call anybody a lock for Oscar anything (there's always much competition) but certainly the visuals of Bright Star will be talked up later in the year. Can Greg Fraiser, a fairly new cinematographer with mostly shorts to his name (including one for Jane Campion "The Water Diary"), compete with the well known names vying for a cinematography nomination? Can costume designer Janet Patterson (Peter Pan, Oscar and Lucinda), who has been nearly as elusive as Jane Campion since the 90s be nominated again? It's amusing that Fannie (Abbie Cornish) designs all her own clothes as a story point and that they're good enough to be made by a three-time Oscar nominee.

Abbie Cornish is a good bet for some form of year end attention but Ben Whishaw will have a tougher row to hoe as the poet: Headstrong protofeminist women are baity, emotionally sensitive men not so much... make of that what you will but I personally think it's simple sexism; Women with "masculine" power are respected, men with "feminine" attributes are not.

Two Nathaniel-obsessive examples: consider the attention Nicole Kidman got for Moulin Rouge! and compare it to Ewan McGregor's. Contrast Sela Ward's EMMY attention for TV's Once & Again and compare it to Billy Campbell's snubbings for the same show. In both cases both members of the coupling were doing tremendously effective work illustrating the emotional contours of love and romance. But "That's woman's work!" he summarized sarcastically.

A more universal example: Leonardo DiCaprio snubbed for Titanic. Kate Winslet nominated. Why? (Disclaimer: I personally would not have nominated either of them that year even though I love the movie. But, that said, I don't think she's appreciably better in that particular film even if she is a far greater actor than he overall)

P.S. 1 For newer readers who might be puzzling over why the return of writer/director Jane Campion thrills me so, see my review of The Piano, one of the three best films of the Nineties (the others being Heavenly Creatures and Boogie Nights). I'm not expecting Bright Star to be that earth shaking (few films are) but I'm eager to see the auteur back behind the camera again, working within the tragic romance register.

P.S.
2 How about that Scottish accent from Paul Schneider as John and Fannie's confidant?
*

36 comments:

Drew said...

Wow. The voiceover was awful, just awful.

Not a fan of the trailer but it certainly didn't lessen my enthusiasm for seeing the film. Abbie Cornish's performance seems distinctly Australian and I'm curious to see how it is for the complete film.

NicksFlickPicks said...

I'm with Drew. Maybe Paul Schneider could have helped the v.o. guy pick an accent: "From Acaaademy Award winner Jane CAHMPyun..."

But obviously, for my favorite director, I'll be there on day one.

Nate said...

The trailer looks dull and in some scenes Cornish looks like she's reading from cue cards. That Mulligan girl looks better in An Education.


Since it's Campion, I'll give it a shot.

Jose said...

This looks absolutely ravishing. But yeah that damn voiceover made me cringe.
I can never watch trailers properly without "trailer guy"'s voice.
What's his name?

Catherine said...

I'll obviously be there opening weekend, but the trailer has done nothing to assuage any doubts I have about this whole enterprise. Namely, the whole trope of period literary icon + romantic interest. I'm all about literary icons, but I don't particularly care to see their lives on film, I'd rather just reread the Odes, you know? Not entirely convinced by Schneider's Scottish accent, either; it seemed okay the first few times he spoke, but the more I heard of him, the more ropey it sounded.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure about Cornish being a "good bet". She comes off as totally bland from the trailer. I guess its only a trailer so we'll see.

adelutza said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
adelutza said...

f I saw this trailer and didn't know it was a film by Jane Campion I doubt I would've given too much thought about seeing it. Very unconvincing. Some films would benefit more if they didn't have a trailer at all.

Victor S said...

The same felling I had for Chéri's costumes when I saw its trailer I had here for the cinematography: LOCKED for nomination, even if everything else goes wrong.

Ryan T. said...

I agree. While the trailer could've been better, it hasn't deterred me from checking this out.

Plus I can't wait to see Ben Whishaw. Saw him last year in Brideshead Revisited. Loved all of the actors, but I hated the movie.

Y EL LOREN? said...

cINEMATOGRAPHY, actress and costume. that's all (nominations)

Anonymous said...

I will strangle you someday! I will strangle you someday!

Flosh said...

this remind me - somehow, i've managed to never see a campion film, even though i've owned the piano on dvd for at least two years. i'll have to correct that soon!

mrripley said...

97 no winslet it is up there with scarlett o'hara as blockbuster lead actress roles a lot of kates best work in that film is in the eyes and body language i prefer it when she says nothing thats what i liked.

1997 actress nominees winner *
judi dench - mrs brown
helen hunt - as good as it gets
jessica lange - a thousand acres
kate winslet - titanic
helena bonham carter -the wings of the dove* my fave actress lead performance from the 90's

mrripley said...

97 no winslet it is up there with scarlett o'hara as blockbuster lead actress roles a lot of kates best work in that film is in the eyes and body language i prefer it when she says nothing thats what i liked.

1997 actress nominees winner *
judi dench - mrs brown
helen hunt - as good as it gets
jessica lange - a thousand acres
kate winslet - titanic
helena bonham carter -the wings of the dove* my fave actress lead performance from the 90's

DJ said...

Wow, surprised at all the negativity. I think it looks beautiful and romantic and stunning. And the dialogue! I'm already in love. This is definitely my most anticipated of the year.

Stella said...

1) loving all the coverage on Bright Star, Nathaniel, and 2) you're absolutely right about the sensitive men thing. It's always refreshing to read the observations you make about the actress/actor role disparities. Already on the youtube trailer I saw such juvenile slurs aimed at Whishaw's character. But they can go to hell, this looks ravishing.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what happened with many people here, but I also love the trailer. Very beautiful and sensible. LOCK for technical aspects and also good bets for actings (Especially for Abbie Cornish - who looks exactly what I expected for that kind of role).

I hope this film, with An Education and The Hurt Locker will be the female driven films of the year the frontrunners in this season

DJ said...

On another note, I don't think Winshaw will be nominated even if his performance is terrific. See: James McAvoy, 2007.

Psyco said...

na, neither Abbie, maybe a nom for golden globe ou BAFTA

Mister Wong said...

I can't believe you wrote this.

So being artistically creative makes a man more "feminine" than other men ? Since when is creation a "feminine" thing ?

Stereotyping much ?

You need a good rest, methinks

NATHANIEL R said...

Mister Wong... you misread my intention.

i'm saying IN GENERAL this is how people view those things. it's sexist but it is the way people think of them.

i personally think it's a crying shame.

NATHANIEL R said...

and that's why the words masculine and feminine are in quotes. It's perceptions of...

stereotypical yes.

Arkaan said...

1. The Titanic Example
Because 1997 was a notoriously great year for men but a weak one for woman. The point still stands, however.

2. It doesn't look that good. Or, more accurately, it LOOKS great but sounds mediocre.

Mister Wong said...

It would be great not to give a platform to these stereotypes, Nathaniel. They are revolting and cause great pain.

Arkaan said...

Is discussing stereotypes the same as giving them a platform?

Agustin said...

I've just seen Un Conte de Noel, I searched for write ups in the blog and found an interview you linked with Desplechin. The point is, in the interview he speaks about the dilemma of french cinema not having a great deal of men with feminine qualities, except for Jean Pierre Leaud, and gives the great example of Paul Newman in american cinema.
Check it out, you already did, but check it out again! ha!
http://theeveningclass.blogspot.com/2008/11/christmas-tale-evening-class-interview.html

Glenn Dunks said...

Mister Wong, you mean to tell us that men with romantic qualities in cinema are not perceived as "feminine"?

Apart from the voice over I think the trailer shows the movie off well. I like that the film doesn't look like some giant lavish Hollywood affair, but actually a smaller international type of affair.

I actually think Cornish looks fabulous in the role and actually reminded me a bit of Nicole Kidman. I'm glad she actually has a bit of size on her. As great as the movie was, the daughters in Pride & Prejudice were incredibly unrealistic.

Anna said...

I didn't like the trailer. Way too bland, and it came off as cliche'. I love all things Campion, but I don't know about this one. I don't feel like I saw anything new or special.

Ben said...

Eurgh. How Helen Hunt won an Oscar over Helena Bonham Carter in Wings Of A Dove I will never understand.

Interesting point you make about "sensitive" male types. Loud, barnstorming musician-types are often favoured but quieter roles are often ignored. Linus Roache in Wings Of A Dove (sorry - lot of love for that film), Geoffrey Rush in Lantana, David Morrissey in Hilary and Jackie, Edward Norton in The Painted Veil...all worthy of Oscar love. I know there are other reasons why these particular performances might not have been nominated, but there does seem to be a definite bias against male roles of this kind.

I would say though that James McAvoy didn't deserve to be nominated for Atonement. He's not bad but he's been much better elsewhere and, for me at least, the story was all about the three ladies.

Anonymous said...

I love Jane Campion films especially when they're offbeat.

I still think "Holy Smoke" is an underrated gem and perhaps Campion's most misunderstood film.

Kate Winslet's work in that film was stunning (1999's best female performance, IMO) full of life yet she got more awards recognition in weaker roles like "Titanic" and "Little Children.

NATHANIEL R said...

anon 6:51... i think Holy Smoke! is Winslet's best performance ever so i'm with you on the love. no argument here.

Ben re: linus roach in wings of the dove. That performance breaks my heart. so fantastic. So mad he wasn't nominated. He was also great in Priest... but Oscar has never noticed him.

glenn exactly. but mister wong maybe i could have been clearer. I get really exhausted by Hollywood (and the world's) continued rigid ideas of gender roles and gender attributes. If you ask me it's mostly nurture and not nature that makes/suggests/encourages men to be hard and steely and women to be soft and feeling. everyone could do with a little of both to get by.

Marshall said...

I saw this trailer in front of 500 DAYS OF SUMMER, it was an afternoon of odd voice-overs. I don't happen to think Schneider's accent is terrible, but he certainly sounds like someone trying to talk like a Scottish person rather than an actual one.

John O'Neil said...

This didn't do much for me. I was looking forward to this more than "An Education." Now, after viewing both of the film's trailers, I am much more looking forward to "An Education." Oh well. I'll still see it, I guess.

zman099 said...

Really looking forward to Campion's Bright Star when it hits theaters this fall. It's great to see her back in the director's chair, and the visuals of the film look stunning. Here's a link to the movie's official site that recently went live
www.brightstar-movie.com

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you're a writer and you don't know the difference between "affect" (verb) and "effect" (noun).!!!