Runtime: 125 min
UK / Belgium
Directed by Terence Davies
Starring: Cynthia Nixon, Jennifer Ehle
Synopsis: On the heels of last year’s gorgeously rendered literary adaptation Sunset Song, A Quiet Passion finds Terence Davies and his cinematographer similarly engaged in recreating the details and atmosphere of the past. Here it is mostly a world of interiors in which Dickinson’s family plays a key role. Indeed, as Emily, portrayed here by Cynthia Nixon, led such a deeply introverted existence, it is her encounters with her mother, father, and sister that provide the hinge around which the film is structured. These moments, familiar to all who know the role that families play in Davies’ work, are sensitively rendered, but it is the seamless manner in which Dickinson’s luminous poetry is integrated into the film that is the central joy of A Quiet Passion. You will see no more beautiful a film this year—beautiful in its sumptuous photography, but also in the respect and love that it brings to its subject.
I’m thrilled to say that it’s an absolute drop-dead masterwork. -New Yorker
Davies, the most interiorized of English filmmakers, shows his devotion through his fidelity to text, trying portray as much as he can of the poet’s sad but notoriously uneventful life. -AV Club
The great theme of Dickinson’s life, Davies argues, is finding solace–not in religion, but in art, and the film itself can boast such moments of quiet catharsis. -The Film Stage