Saturday, May 6, 2017
A QUIET PASSION
It's difficult to make a movie about a writer, especially a poet (though it has been done well before). And for my taste director/writer Terence Davies falls into some of the pitfalls in the genre. He tries to hit what seems like every interpretation or theory for what ailed Dickinson, as well as what her daily passions and challenges and relationships were like. And then use specific poems to illustrate each of his insights, or takes, on these, almost like a graphic novel.
In a few instances that works, in most though it detracts from the depth of thought in the poems and the ways they transcend the mere details of a life, the poet's or anyone else's. And between each of these dramatic scenes, there's seemingly endless lingering shots to evoke, I assume, the tedious insularity and uneventfulness of much of Emily's life as a recluse.
A noble attempt to capture the significance and genius of the Eve of American Poetry, but uneven in its artistry for my taste. I commend Davies for getting a movie like this financed and made, but I would love to see what a good, thoughtful woman director, like say Maggie Greenwald for one, would do with a Dickinson biopic.