A QUIET PASSION

A Quiet Passion is not an ordinary period drama. Instead, this biopic of Emily Dickinson feels like time travel. The film is so real, the dialogue so jarringly foreign at first in its authenticity, and the performances so nuanced and emotional, that by the end, you will be completely immersed in the life of this reclusive American poet.

A Quiet Passion tells Emily Dickinson’s story from birth to death. Emily’s life isn’t filled with interesting event after event. Rather, the focus on Emily’s intellect, witty conversations, and emotional turmoil will leave you entranced with its intellectual subtlety. That is if you can adjust to the poetic style of filmmaking. (The dialogue can be really, really funny before the writing turns rather depressive.)

EMILY DICKINSON

A Quiet Passion: A Poetic and Underrated Masterpiece

In the film, Emily’s a 19th-century unmarried woman with limited opportunities. Not to mention, health issues that keep her bedridden much of her life. However, Emily wasn’t this quiet loner. Inside her home, she was outspoken, flirtatious, and temperamental. This was a woman with several sides leaving the door wide open for Cynthia Nixon to give her best ever performance as an actress.

RELATED | TO WALK INVISIBLE: THE BRONTË SISTERS – A BLEAK YET WONDERFUL BIOPIC

Emily could be bitter, flirty, witty, emotional, and anxious. But most importantly, she was a brilliant woman who didn’t know where to direct all that intellect in a time when women were constrained by society. Incidentally, much of the film follows Emily’s interactions and opinionated conversations with her family and friends. At the same time, Emily seeks an outlet for her writing that frustratingly goes nowhere.

During her lifetime, Emily’s writing is unfortunately ignored and goes unnoticed. And as she ages in the film, the bitterness to her frustration increases. As her illnesses intensify as well, Emily’s sister played by the always amazing Jennifer Ehle (Pride and Prejudice) takes care of her in emotional scenes that have you spellbound by their every word. These two amazing actresses working off one another is magnificent to behold.

THEMES

Meanwhile, time emerges as a theme in this slow-moving film, emphasizing Emily’s transition into reclusiveness. The special effects from young Emily’s daguerreotype into Cynthia Nixon’s face is astonishing and unbelievably beautiful because you experience time passing. And it’s sad. Similar to Terence Davies’ work in The House of Mirth, he pulls you into the story only to hit you in the gut with so much nuanced emotion, that you leave his films pondering life. You will definitely do that here as well.

OVERALL THOUGHTS

Overall, A Quiet Passion is an underrated masterpiece that deserved more recognition, particularly for Cynthia Nixon’s acting and Terence Davies’ exquisite screenplay. In a film about a poet, I love that the beauty of language plays such an important role in the script. Like Emily Dickinson’s poems, there’s a rhythm and a beat to the heart of the screenplay that transforms what could have been a good period drama into something transcendent. It’s a thing of beauty.

If you love movies with depth, literary language, beautiful costumes, and masterful performances, I highly recommend A Quiet Passion. It’s a quiet masterpiece that like Emily Dickinson has been largely ignored. Hopefully, over time, the film will continue to find new audiences that can appreciate true artistry.

Content Note: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, disturbing images, and brief suggestive material.

Where To Watch: Buy on DVD/Blu-Ray or stream on Amazon Prime. You can also rent from YouTube, iTunes, Vudu, and Google Play.


Photo Credits: Music Box Films

OVERALL RATING

Five Corset Rating Lower Byte Size

“The stuff that dreams are made of.”

ARE YOU A ROMANTIC REBEL LIKE US? FOLLOW THE SILVER PETTICOAT REVIEW:

Silver Petticoat Review Logo The Silver Petticoat Review is a Romance themed entertainment site. Discussing Books, Film, TV, Theater, and Romantic Living with reviews, news, articles, and more, we’re the go-to place for fans of old-fashioned romance and Romanticism in stories. We’re twin sisters, Amber and Autumn, who hope to help spread the popularity of Romance in Entertainment as well as inspire kindred spirits to live more imaginative, Romantic lives so together we can all create a more beautiful world! We’re damsels not in distress fighting for the all-new optimistic Romantic Revolution! Join us as fellow Romantic Rebels and subscribe. For more information, see our AboutOld-Fashioned Romance 101, and Modern Romanticism 101. Also, make sure to meet our awesome Team.
Want to help us spread the popularity of Romance in Entertainment? Share this article with your friends!

 

Related Posts