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A Quiet Passion

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United Kingdom, Belgium, United States · 2016
Rated PG-13 · 2h 5m
Director Terence Davies
Starring Cynthia Nixon, Jennifer Ehle, Keith Carradine, Emma Bell
Genre Drama

The story of American poet Emily Dickinson from her early days as a young schoolgirl to her later years as a reclusive writer. Dickinson struggles to receive recognition during her lifetime as a female writer in the nineteenth century.

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What are critics saying?


Empire by

Thoughtful, emotional and often surprisingly funny, Terence Davies offers a rich if inconsistent portrait of a unique poet long deserving of a big-screen study.


The Guardian by Andrew Pulver

It is Davies’ ability to invest even the most apparently-humdrum moments with some form of intense radiance that sustains his film.


Time Out London by Dave Calhoun

The talk is pointed and careful in a household that savours the power and meaning of words, but it’s as much the imagery that makes this film such a painterly joy.


The Hollywood Reporter by Deborah Young

Despite a warmly interacting cast that includes Jennifer Ehle as Emily’s sister and Keith Carradine as her lion-maned, lionized father, and a valiant effort on the part of Nixon and Davies to externalize the poet’s inner demons in emotional, high-tension scenes, the film can’t escape an underlying static quality that extinguishes the flame before it can get burning.


Variety by Guy Lodge

[Davies'] most mannered and least fulfilling work to date, A Quiet Passion boasts meticulous craft and ornate verbiage in abundance, but confines Cynthia Nixon’s melancholia-stricken performance as arguably America’s greatest poet in an emotional straitjacket of variously arch storytelling tones.


The Playlist by Jessica Kiang

It's an overwrought, stagey muddle that suggests that Davies, ever a-quiver on the extreme high end of the sensitivity meter anyway, has quivered right off it and plunged into the depths of bathos.


Screen International by Lee Marshall

If A Quiet Passion grows in stature as we watch, it’s partly thanks to Cynthia Nixon, whose account of a witty, intelligent, rebellious but also reticent and emotionally confused woman takes the edge off Davies’ sometimes grating formalism.


CineVue by Lucy Popescu

While Davies vividly captures the period's austerity and Dickinson's despair at being misunderstood, there are a few too many scenes of repressed emotion followed by wild outbursts of grief.

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