A Quiet Passion

Director: Terence Davies
Year Released: 2016
Rating: 2.0

Biopic about the American poet Emily Dickinson (Emma Bell in her younger years, Cynthia Nixon as an adult) as she goes from peculiar to downright reclusive and has a difficult time getting recognition for her work. It's tough to make a film about an infamous introvert who rarely left her house, but Davies tries ... trouble is, his characters speak in verse and the picture comes across as stiff and plodding. Dickinson was unquestionably a genius whose unbelievably intricate poems belong in the Western canon, but reciting her material over 'pensive' shots in her parents' home is a hackneyed move (she's better on paper, like most of the legends of literature). Nixon's Emily is childlike and sort-of a jerk, but I found Jennifer Ehle's portrayal of Em's sister Lavinia to be warm, kind and reasonable ... "Vinnie," of course, was the one who made sure her late sibling's work became published-in-full instead of torching it.