Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City) delivers a blistering performance as Emily Dickinson in Terence Davies’s A Quiet Passion, an “absolute, drop-dead masterwork,” in the words of the New Yorker. In this powerfully emotional portrait of the great American poet, we encounter an unmarried, middle-aged woman who is very close to her immediate family—especially her stern but loving father (Keith Carradine) and her vital sister Vinnie (Jennifer Ehle)—and, at the same time, painfully unhappy in romantic matters. Nixon brings an extraordinary vulnerability to her character, one that seems to profess the filmmaker’s own unfulfilled private life in every wounded word the poet speaks. Davies (The House of Mirth, Sunset Song) adds his own exquisitely poetic touch to this precisely observed take on the social mores and spiritual attitudes of nineteenth century America.
Director Terence Davies 2016 United Kingdom/Belgium 126 minutes PG-13 (for thematic elements, disturbing images and brief suggestive material) DCP