Acclaimed British director Terence Davies (The House of Mirth, Distant Voices, Still Lives) delivers an exquisite, expertly-crafted portrait of the 19th-century American poet, Emily Dickinson, who died in 1886 as an unrecognised artist.
The film follows Emily from her early days as a school girl (Emma Bell) into adulthood (a career-best performance by Cynthia Nixon) as she struggles to live in the world. We speed forward into Emily’s later years where her lack of recognition as a poet, her growing loneliness and her frustrations regarding gender inequality and creative integrity make for an increasing reclusiveness and an ever more loudly voiced bitterness.
Using Dickinson’s poems and Davies’ own script, the film's dialogue takes centre-stage as Emily engages with her family and few visitors in their family home in Amherst, Massachusetts. There are moments here that are utterly and gloriously Davies – no other filmmaker would have dreamed them up, let alone have executed them with such exquisite delicacy.