125 mins, 2016, UK-Belgium, Digital,

This film was released on Friday 7th April 2017 and is no longer screening. 

Cynthia Nixon gives a revelatory performance in Terence Davies’ delicate portrait of the great American poet Emily Dickinson. Davies charts Dickinson’s life from her college days to her final reclusive years in Amherst, Massachusetts; the early sections of the film are distinguished by a surprisingly breezy tone as Dickinson trades tart aphorisms with her doting younger sister Lavinia (Jennifer Ehle) and her irreverent best friend, Vryling Buffam (Catherine Bailey), as they patrol the gardens in wry discussions of social etiquette.

A familiar melancholy soon descends however as the poet’s life becomes increasingly interiorised and hermetic, her interactions entirely restricted to her home where she fights with her authoritarian father (Keith Carradine) and condescending brother (Duncan Duff), her furtive and ultimately futile attempts to connect with a local married clergyman proving especially poignant.

(Notes by David O’Mahony)

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