There is a sense that A Quiet Passion might have worked more effectively as a stage play – an aspect no doubt contributed to by its interiority and restrictive budget – yet Davies’ Dickinson biopic is sophisticatedly shot with fine writing and excellent performances to match.
Despite his singular eye for film, Davies could be said to be a director for those who prefer literature; a director whose understated style relishes language and expression – a perfect match, then, for Emily Dickinson. Cynthia Nixon shines in a film that finds poetry in the everyday, grounding the elusive icon with wit, warmth, and humanity.
Cynthia Nixon delivers a performance that demands attention in Davies’ affecting biopic; come for the poetry, but stay for the intimate human portrait of a soul in perpetual crisis.
CAST: Cynthia Nixon, Keith Carradine, Jennifer Ehle, Duncan Duff
DIRECTOR: Terence Davies
WRITER: Terence Davies
SYNOPSIS: A biopic of Emily Dickinson, one of America’s best-loved poets.
A Quiet Passion was reviewed as part of One Room With A View’s coverage of the 66th Berlinale Film Festival, which runs 11-21 February 2016.