Terence Davies read six biographies of Emily Dickinson prior to making the film and he believes that she is a genius. Cynthia Nixon also read a lot of biographies of Emily Dickinson in order to get into the role and she detected contradictions, but she found it interesting because she had the chance to choose her favorite versions. See more »
In a lamp-lit scene where the Dickinson family sits in the drawing room, Emily is reading a book. The lamp is on the opposite of the print. There is no way she could have seen a single word on the page. See more »
'If I can't have equality, then I want nothing of love.'
British director Terence Davies both wrote and directed this thuddingly overlong and sleep inducing 'biography' of one of the greatest poets of the 19th century – the inimitable Emily Dickinson. For those who love her poetry and her individuality that presaged feminism, this very long and low-keyed lecture will likely infuriate. Despite a strong cast of fine actors the film never takes flight. Some are raving about Cynthia Nixon's portrayal of Emily, but for this viewer it seems monochromatic and predictable.
The description of the film states it is the story of American poet Emily Dickinson from her early days as a young schoolgirl to her later years as a reclusive, unrecognized artist. For a more detailed biography we may turn to Wikipedia – 'Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was an American poet. With the possible exception of Walt Whitman, Dickinson is now recognized as the most important American poet of the 19th century. Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts. Although part of a prominent family with strong ties to its community, Dickinson lived much of her life in reclusive isolation. After studying at the Amherst Academy for seven years in her youth, she briefly attended the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary before returning to her family's house in Amherst. Considered an eccentric by locals, she developed a noted penchant for white clothing and became known for her reluctance to greet guests or, later in life, to even leave her bedroom. Dickinson never married, and most friendships between her and others depended entirely upon correspondence. Dickinson was a recluse for the later years of her life. While Dickinson was a prolific private poet, fewer than a dozen of her nearly 1,800 poems were published during her lifetime. The publishers to fit the conventional poetic rules of the time usually altered the work that was published during her lifetime significantly. Dickinson's poems are unique for the era in which she wrote; they contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often use slant rhyme as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation. Many of her poems deal with themes of death and immortality, two recurring topics in letters to her friends.'
If only we could have felt this life in the film, but a stilted script, boring cinematography, and insensitive direction make this a 125-minute bore. Sad.
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