Terence Davies first met Cynthia Nixon when auditioning actresses for a comedy film called Mad About the Boy that ultimately never got made. He never forgot her, though, and her resemblance to Emily Dickinson is what got her cast in this film. See more »
Emily says she writes at 3a.m. until 5 a.m., yet she is sometimes seen writing at her desk in what appears to be broad daylight. Though she writes a lot, no ink stains her fingers or her sleeves. See more »
"A Quiet Passion" from 2016 is a beautifully photographed and produced film about Emily Dickinson, here played by Cynthia Nixon. Some may be more familiar with the old Julie Harris vehicle about Dickenson, The Belle of Amherst, which she performed on stage.
As a young woman, Dickinson attended a female seminary but ultimately returned home to her family. She was very opinionated and rigid in her beliefs and considered eccentric. She became more and more reclusive and later on refused to leave her bedroom.
She wrote beautiful poetry, much of which was discovered after her death.
Dickinson was a troubled woman, preoccupied with death and no doubt suffered from depression which worsened over the years. She may have also been agoraphobic.
The film, written and directed by Terence Davies was overly long, slow, and boring, done in a pretentious manner. Someone who saw it the same time as I did described it as "starched." It did not draw in this viewer.
The acting was good, with Nixon doing a fine job as Emily and Jennifer Ehle, whom many remember from the wonderful Pride & Prejudice some years ago, gave a lovely performance as her sister Lavinia. Keith Carradine played their father; he was excellent and inspired casting.
"A Quiet Passion" was obviously a labor of love for Davies and for Nixon, and much care was taken with it. For me, it wasn't energized or accessible enough to truly enjoy, which is a shame, as it was treated too preciously.
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