Emily Dickinson is one of the most iconic poets in American history.
The new film, A Quiet Passion, starring Cynthia Nixon as Emily and Jennifer Ehle as her sister/best friend Vinnie, starts off when Emily is a young woman. Unconventional from an early age, the film starts when Emily is in school. The teacher asks the students a question about religion. While the rest of the students quietly answer the teacher’s question, Emily is outwardly defiant and answers the teacher’s question on her own terms.
A short time later, the film flashes forward to Emily as an adult. Still unconventional, Emily writes in the early morning hours and shows no interest in the traditional path of marriage and children. As illness sets in and she becomes a recluse with a very sharp tongue, life changes and the relationships with her sister and brother, Austin (Duncan Duff) are tested.
I must clarify something before I proceed. I have heard of Emily Dickinson, but I have not read any of her poetry. This review is strictly based on the movie and not my knowledge (or lack thereof) of her life and work. My problem with the film is that a) it’s long and b) even with a stellar cast and respected writer/director like Terrence Davies, I was really just underwhelmed by the film.
Do I recommend it? Maybe.
A Quiet Passion is presently in theaters.