A Quiet Passion
A Quiet Passion is a 2016 biographical film directed and written by Terence Davies about the life of American poet Emily Dickinson. The film stars Cynthia Nixon as the reclusive poet. It co-stars Emma Bell as young Dickinson, Jennifer Ehle, Duncan Duff and Keith Carradine. The film premiered at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival in February 2016 and was released in the United Kingdom on 7 April 2017.
|A Quiet Passion|
British release poster
|Directed by||Terence Davies|
|Written by||Terence Davies|
|Edited by||Pia Di Ciaula|
- Cynthia Nixon as Emily Dickinson
- Emma Bell as Young Emily Dickinson
- Jennifer Ehle as Lavinia "Vinnie" Dickinson, Emily's sister
- Rose Williams as Young Vinnie Dickinson
- Duncan Duff as Austin Dickinson, Emily's brother
- Benjamin Wainwright as Young Austin Dickinson
- Joanna Bacon as Emily Norcross Dickinson, Emily's mother
- Keith Carradine as Edward Dickinson, Emily's father
- Jodhi May as Susan Gilbert Dickinson, Emily's sister-in-law
- Daan and Eve Cools as Edward Dickinson, son of Austin and Susan, Emily's nephew
- Yasmin Dewilde as Margaret Maher, Emily's maid
- Verona Verbakel as Margaret Kelley, Maggie's niece and Susan and Austin's maid
- Turlough Convery as Thomas Kelley, father of Mary Kelley and brother-in-law of Margaret "Maggie" Maher
- Annette Badland as Elizabeth Dickinson Currier, Emily's Aunt
- Noemie Schellens as Mabel Loomis Todd
- Marieke Bresseleers as Jenny Lind
- Catherine Bailey as Vryling Wilder Buffum, a friend of Vinnie's
- Eric Loren as Reverend Charles Wadsworth
- Simone Milsdochter as Jane Locke Wadsworth, Charles' wife
- Stefan Menaul as Mr. Henry Emmons
- Trevor Cooper as Samuel Bowles
- Sara Vertongen as Mary Lyon, as the headmistress of Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, where Emily studied.
- Barney Glover as Dancing Soldier
- Richard Wells as Doctor
- Miles Richardson as Pastor
- Maurice Cassiers as The Photographer
On 10 September 2012, it was announced that Cynthia Nixon was set to play Emily Dickinson in a biopic directed by Terence Davies. In May 2015, after a long time in development hell, A Quiet Passion finally began production in Belgium. The film was shot at AED Studios in a replica of Dickinson's house. Additional scenes were also filmed in Amherst and Pelham, Massachusetts. Jennifer Ehle was cast in a key supporting role opposite Nixon.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 91%, based on 152 reviews, and an average rating of 7.8/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "A Quiet Passion offers a finely detailed portrait of a life whose placid passage may not have been inherently cinematic, but is made more affecting by Cynthia Nixon's strong performance." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 77 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
The film was highly praised by the British newspapers The Guardian and The Independent, which described the film as a 'Masterpiece of Mood'. Richard Brody of The New Yorker called it a "masterwork" and stated that the film would "take its place as one of [Davies'] finest creations". Had the film been given a limited release in the United States before 2017, Brody would have placed it first in his list of best films of 2016. Internationally, The New York Times stated: "This Emily Dickinson biopic possesses a poetic sensibility perfectly suited to its subject and a deep, idiosyncratic intuition about what might have made her tick." The Washington Post wrote: "Davies is a master of the slow build, lyrically evoking both the dreaminess and gravity of his subject and her verse".
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- Brody, Richard (9 December 2016). "The Best Movies of 2016". The New Yorker. Condé Nast. Retrieved 22 December 2016.