A Quiet Pas­sion (12A)

Yorkshire Post - Culture & The Guide - - 8/FILM - ON GEN­ERAL RE­LEASE DA­MON SMITH

4/5

The film fol­lows young Emily Dick­in­son (Emma Bell) from her time at Mount Holyoke Fe­male Sem­i­nary to her later years

(now played by Cyn­thia Nixon), when she writes her poetry late at night with the bless­ing of her pi­ous father, Ed­ward (Keith Car­ra­dine).

In early scenes, Emily’s re­luc­tance to slav­ishly fol­low teach­ings – her soul is her own, not God’s – an­noys her ed­u­ca­tors.

She re­turns home less than a year into her stud­ies and re­peat­edly clashes with her father, a prom­i­nent politi­cian, who stri­dently im­poses his will on his chil­dren.

He does agree, how­ever, that Emily can write verse behind closed doors in the dead of night and she is pub­lished anony­mously in the Spring­field Repub­li­can. Sup­ported by her dot­ing sis­ter Vin­nie (Jennifer Ehle) and fre­quently vis­ited by their friend Vryling Buf­fam (Cather­ine Bai­ley), Emily set­tles into an al­most her­metic ex­is­tence at the fam­ily home, where she ob­serves the minu­tiae of so­ci­ety life and passes judg­ment on the work of the Bron­tës.

While her brother Austin (Dun­can Duff ) em­barks on an adul­ter­ous af­fair with Ma­bel Todd (Noemie Schel­lens),

Emily re­mains alone and aloof, un­touched by Cupid’s ar­row.

A Quiet Pas­sion is a dense and ex­ceed­ingly wordy trib­ute to a trail­blazer at odds with the pre­vail­ing moods of the era.

POET: Cyn­thia Nixon as Emily Dick­in­son in A Quiet Pas­sion.

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