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Previously, actress Abbie Cornish‘s best-known role had been the “vixen” in the Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe split. But now she’s being recognized for her acting talent – in a massive way. The New York TimesA.O. Scott has reviewed the Jane Campion-directed film, Bright Star, which depicts the romance between doomed English poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and his lover, Fanny Brawne. It’s an extremely favorable review, but Scott reserves his most rapturous praise for Cornish, comparing her to a particular Anglophenia fave:

The movie really belongs to Brawne, played with mesmerizing vitality and heart-stopping grace by Abbie Cornish.

Ms. Cornish, an Australian actress whose previous films include Stop-Loss, Candy, and Somersault, has, at 27, achieved a mixture of unguardedness and self-control matched by few actresses of any age or nationality. She’s as good as Kate Winslet, which is about as good as it’s possible to be.

And Cornish looks to follow in Winslet’s footsteps: she’s widely predicted to be a frontrunner for the Best Actress Oscar next year. As good as Winslet, ay? Ms. Cornish will need a few more roles under her belt before she can hold that distinction.

Have a look at the trailer and see if you get Winslet-sized chills. And isn’t Mr. Whishaw just the cutest thing ever? Now he should be getting Robert Pattinson‘s level of fame:

In other news:

  • Has Ricky Gervais lost weight? (The Sun)

  • Which show has been a bigger international success: Doctor Who or Merlin? The Guardian‘s Stuart Heritage says, “Of the big BBC1 drama series in this slot over recent years, only Merlin can really call itself a legitimate global success. While Doctor Who attracts more attention in the UK, it is Merlin that translates internationally. Maybe lanky Scotsmen shouting the Ghostbusters theme-tune at Billie Piper just isn’t so appealing after all.” Methinks Mr. Heritage has lost the plot if he thinks Merlin has had anywhere near the impact Who (or its “lanky Scotsman star”) has had in the States.
  • Comedian Eddie Izzard has run 43 marathons in the past seven weeks, and he has the battered feet to prove it. “Never again. I’m completely exhausted and my toes look like alien monsters.” (The Sun)
  • How awful: British chef Keith Floyd died of a heart attack just hours after he received news that his bowel cancer had been successfully treated. (Telegraph)
  • UK band Muse have revealed that they want to record the next Bond theme. “Certainly some of our music fits with the James Bond vibe – and I think it could work,” says drummer Dom Howard. (BBC)
  • Due to copyright laws, 92-year-old singer Dame Vera Lynn won’t earn any royalties off her best-selling greatest-hits collection. (Daily Mail)
  • Edwyn Collins‘ wife describes her husband’s recovery from a 2005 brain hemorrhage. “Brain damage was an especial dread. For two years I would not even utter the words. I used any euphemism I could think of to avoid describing what had happened to Edwyn in these unthinkable terms. Edwyn was much more courageous. His honesty had not deserted him, nor his bluntness. He confronted his new self unflinchingly. ‘Brain damage, I think. I’m a moron.'” (Guardian)
  • New details have emerged on author J.R.R. Tolkien‘s career as a British spy trained to crack Nazi codes before the Second World War. (Telegraph)
  • Robbie Williams has a very big light sabre. Yes, the link is worksafe. (Daily Mail)
  • David Gray‘s music has become the soundtrack to porn films and barroom brawls. (Mirror)
  • Upstarts The Saturdays (watch their latest video) say they are better than British girl group vets Sugababes and Girls Aloud. (The Sun)
  • Turn around bright eyes: Bonnie Tyler is back and looking a bit like Ellen Barkin in an homage to her “Total Eclipse of the Heart” video on the UK soap Hollyoaks. (The Sun)
  • Speaking of the ’80s: check out the bad Stevie Nicks hair on Gemma Bissix, who played Hollyoaks villain Clare Cunningham. (The Sun)
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By Kevin Wicks
Kevin Wicks is the founding editor of Anglophenia.