‘A Quiet Passion’ Review Roundup: A Wonderful Tribute To A Complex Woman
Cynthia Nixon stars as reclusive 19th century poet Emily Dickinson in biopic A Quiet Passion. The film has been receiving praise for both its acting and its reverence for the beloved poet, and has garnered an impressive 90% on Rottentomatoes.
A QUIET PASSION REVIEW ROUNDUP
“The literalness of film and the creaky conventions of the biopic threaten to dissolve that strangeness, to domesticate genius into likable quirkiness. But Mr. Davies, whose work often blends public history and private memory, possesses a poetic sensibility perfectly suited to his subject and a deep, idiosyncratic intuition about what might have made her tick… And though A Quiet Passion is small — modest in scope, inward rather than expansive, precise in word and gesture — it contains multitudes. It opens a window into an era whose political and moral legacies are still with us, and illuminates, with a practiced portraitist’s sureness of touch, the mind of someone who lived completely in her time, knowing all the while that she would eventually escape it.”
–A.O. Scott, The New York Times
“[Terence] Davies does many things right, including a script laden with bon mots and witty dialogue. The filmmaker also touches on the U.S. Civil War to provide historical context and explores Dickinson’s feminist ideals and her relationship with her siblings. But the pace, intentionally so, reflects a time when the world moved so much more slowly. And the portrait that emerges of Dickinson is a complicated one, and not always pretty.”
–Bruce Demara, Toronto Star
“Cynthia Nixon is simply magnificent as Dickinson, finding the sharp wit and searching mind of a woman out of step with the codes and formalities of her time…The portrait that Davies paints is of a woman in full, living not just in her words but in the agonizing spaces between them. That’s why this film is such a remarkable achievement…It’s a beauty of a movie that touches the heart not through pushy sentiment but through the magnitude of its art.”
–Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“A Quiet Passion is the work of a master craftsman whose interest has always been the ways outer reality frames and shapes our inner landscapes… I think this long, cool insistence on looking makes A Quiet Passion the stronger experience, if a less comfortable one. No matter how you feel, we still get the poetry, stitched throughout the film and occasionally soaring above it like an uncaged bird: hard, far-seeing, and waiting for the day it will be understood.”
–Ty Burr, Boston Globe
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