Posted November 2, 2014 by editor in Film Reviews

Set Fire To The Stars Review


Not everyone loves poetry, but there is something magical about the delivery of the lines and the setting of the scenes in Set Fire To The Stars that might actually make a few fans of the anti-prose.

To get to grips with the film, it is immediate that it isn’t always going to be a linear path we are on, despite events taking place in a chronological order over a short space of time. It’s full of unpredictable characters, and their unpredictable temperaments. Not to mention their actions.

And so we get a small piece of life shared by two people from real life history.  Drunk, depressed and selfish Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (played beautifully by Celyn Jones) and the man chaperoning him around the US on his poetry tour John M. Brinnin (Elijah Wood).

The two develop a close, often heated relationship as the admiration of one to the other causes friction throughout their dysfunctional working relationship. It is clear that Brinnin is clear in his conduct. A neat and tidy, yet observant individual. Thomas couldn’t be more opposite as a hellraiser whose health is in fast decline.

The film presents various scenarios of the before and aftermath of the drinking bouts and binges either alone together or amongst others in the world they find themselves trapped in. But there are many moments that let the poetry come through in various readings that take place.

At one point, Thomas is stripped to his most pathetic after a drink relapse and finding himself forced in front of an audience having to front his soul to them through his words.

The two leads are terrific in their performances. Jones, a name to watch – and Wood a name reinforced by the decisions he has been making over the past decade.

4 Stars



Steven Hurst