For Reel

A Quiet Passion (2016)
August 18, 2017, 2:57 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Terence Davies
5 Stars
A Quiet PassionDirector Terence Davies has carved a career out of his haunting, nostalgic portraits of British pastimes. In the semi-autobiographical The Long Day Closes, a a young boy is raised by the beauty and escapism of the cinema screen. Similarly, A Quiet Passion finds Emily Dickinson (Cynthia Nixon) as a woman who comes to understand and expand her world through Brontë novels. Although Dickinson has steadfast convictions and a strong opinion regarding marriage’s deadening potential on women, the film is far from a celebration of Dickinson as a figure of social justice—she is instead seen as a woman who rigidly defines the world through strict moral parameters, showing a concern for truth and decorum while neglecting the falsity of piousness. Her contradictions are clearly a fascination for Davies. As much as she neglects a suitor and denies the possibility, an ethereal dream sequence imagines her dark suitor arriving up the stairs. If she is not concerned with fame, she nonetheless clings to the approval of a married reverend. The film humanizes Dickinson through these comparisons, characterizing her as a vulnerable, undoubtedly clinically depressed genius whose idea of what the world should be was never met by the world that was.