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TIFF 2016 Review: A Quiet Passion

The story of Emily Dickinson is a difficult one to tell, because of the great unhappiness that is present within her experiences. Despite writing over 1800 poems within her lifetime, she only released a handful, perhaps less than twenty throughout her mostly unpeasant life. Furthermore the previous effort from director Terence Davies, Sunset Song, was fairly difficult in its examination of farm life.

Therefore it is a pleasant surprise that this movie is filled with joy and optimism and uplifting feelings despite some pretty heavy subject matter. Cynthia Nixon, despite not seeming like a first choice for Emily Dickinson, falls right into the role, (between this film and James White, it feels like we are entering the Cynthiassaince). Jennifer Ehle is fantastic as her sister and the formalism at play reveals that the film deserves to play in the Masters program, as Davies masters the art of storytelling down to its precise components, including a special effect used in the very last scene of the movie. This film should be watched on a screen.

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