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Entries in A Quiet Passion (3)


The Furniture: A Quiet Passion's Floral Punctuations

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. You can click on the images to see them in magnified detail.

by Daniel Walber 

If you know one thing about the life of Emily Dickinson, it’s probably that she was a recluse. She spent the last years of her life cooped up in her Massachusetts home. Very few of her 1,800 poems were published during her lifetime. Up until very recently, only one picture of her was known to exist.

Yet she is now recognized as the most important American poet of the 19th century. That her universally resonant voice emerged from such isolation has seemed miraculous. A Quiet Passion peers into this conundrum and finds some strikingly poetic answers.

Unsurprisingly, the key to understanding is found in her house. Cynthia Nixon gives a brilliant performance, but the difference between Terence Davies’s film and lesser biopics is that she is not left to fend for herself. The work of production designer Merijn Sep and set decorator Ilse Willocx is crucial... 

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Cynthia Nixon's Emily Dickinson Dwells In Possibility of Miranda Hobbes

Daniel Crooke here, new contributor. As daily updates make their way stateside from the Berlinale, certain titles that can’t help but infiltrate and overtake your curiosity. One such film is Terence Davies’ A Quiet Passion. What a time to be alive when the promise of a film starring the soulfully efflorescent Cynthia Nixon as the spiritually untethered Emily Dickinson exists on this planet. While reactions to the poet’s biopic have been highly mixed, the overlapping of these two mustang personas is an undeniable attraction.

Obviously much of Dickinson’s public face continues to be debated – that’ll happen when you like what you like and forget the rest – but there’s still a respected wealth of fascinating, cogent theories about the manner in which Emily lived. And no study needs a peer review about how perfectly Nixon’s signature role encapsulates this iconoclast who ditched polite society for a personal universe of her own reckoning.

The ultimate role research for Emily Dickinson lies in playing the sage and self-determined Miranda Hobbes for six seasons of Sex and the CitySix reasons why after the jump...

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Cynthia Nixon is Emily Dickinson

Manuel here. No sooner was Nat discussing the talents of one Miss Cynthia Nixon, who's great in James White (review) and commenting on the fact that she’s an Oscar away from EGOTing, than we got these new images from Terence Davies’s upcoming film A Quiet Passion.

In the film, Nixon plays poet Emily Dickinson. The always welcome, if criminally underused, Jennifer Ehle plays Vinnie Dickinson, her sister, and if these images are anything to go by, we’re in for quite a treat. The project should no doubt excite anyone who’s ever fallen in love with Dickinson’s lyrical poetry. A known recluse (or “introvert” if you want to put it mildly), Dickinson produced copious amount of poetry in her lifetime but saw but a few of them published. Since her death she has become a key figure in American literature. 

Emma Bell plays a young Emily which suggests the film may shuttle back and forth between her younger years and her later later life. 

We know what a wondrous performance Davies courted out of Rachel Weisz in The Deep Blue Sea — you’ll remember she won the New York Film Critics Circle award for Best Actress and even earned a Golden Globe nomination for her work — and so his pairing with these two talented actress should have us all excited. May this be a chance for Nixon to at least contend for that coveted golden statue? In the meantime for those looking forward to more of Davies’s work, his new film Sunset Song, which premiered at TIFF will be released in the UK next month.