DIFF 2017: Day 6

A Quiet Passion is a subdued and deeply poetic glimpse into the great American poet Emily Dickinson’s enigmatic and deeply private life in 19th-century Massachusetts. Directed by renowned English filmmaker Terence Davies, it is a beautifully crafted film that effectively mimics the magnificence and often miserable emotional gravitas of Dickinson’s poems. For instance, it relies heavily on her actual prose to help transition her life phases and underscore her mental disposition during the key moments of the movie, instead of the conventional use of a musical score. In addition, the dialogue is very formal and feels as if it could come straight from a 19th-century novel or poem. Cynthia Nixon, best known for her role in the HBO series Sex and the City, delves deep into Emily Dickinson’s persona to give a terrifically nuanced performance, authentically conveying the personal struggles that beset her difficult and eventually reclusive life. She lived a very lonely existence who mostly kept her genius hidden and was dependent on her father and mother whose deaths greatly affected her mental and physical health.

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