A Quiet Passion

By Angie Raphael

2.5 stars

Long and boring, this biopic fails to honour the great American poet, Emily Dickinson, despite the best intentions of writer/director Terence Davies. A Quiet Passion explores Dickinson's early life as a schoolgirl, through to her creative successes and later years as a recluse. Cynthia Nixon is very good in the complex lead role and Jennifer Ehle is also charming as Dickinson's sister. Their scenes together are by far the strongest. But most of the remaining cast appear uncomfortable, as if they do not understand the words they are speaking. Perhaps Davies relied too much on dialogue, but every moment of forced laughter from the actors whenever someone made a witty remark was jarring to watch. There are some positives to take away, such as Dickinson's powerful feminist voice and the beautiful costumes, but overall the film is too ambitious.