Magazine article New Internationalist

A Quiet Passion

Magazine article New Internationalist

A Quiet Passion

Article excerpt

A Quiet Passion (125 minutes)

written and directed by Terence Davies

The great Emily Dickinson published in her lifetime fewer than a dozen poems. She died unknown, unmarried, unfulfilled. Terence Davies is celebrated for his early autobiographical films, growing up gay and celibate in mid20th century working-class Merseyside. This may seem a long way from respectable, prosperous, mid-19th century Massachusetts, but Davies's theme - life denied and unlived - would be familiar to many. A Quiet Passion makes of the life of a recluse, a hymn of praise and sorrow for the socially excluded.

It's deeply moving to see smart, funny, caring, young Emily, so full of life, buried by loneliness and the expectations of her time and place. Apart from the opening scene, we never see her travel further than the picket fence of her family home.

But it's not grim, or a slog. …

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