Wild Nights With Emily
The Belle of Amherst gets a makeover.
The new Emily Dickinson movie is “a thing that should not work yet mostly does,” said Ty Burr in The Boston Globe. “A silly comedy seriously felt,” it casts the poet not as the reclusive spinster of lore but as a clear-eyed artist who carries on a frisky, decades-long affair with her sister-in-law. The story is rooted in biographical evidence, but the film is more playful than earnestly historical, even as Molly Shannon uses the freedom to turn Dickinson into a three-dimensional woman. “She can be cranky, passionate, jealous”—as can the love of her life. Wild Nights’ limited budget often shows, said John DeFore in The Hollywood Reporter. With its bouts of sketch-comedy absurdism—at one point, the cast sings a Dickinson poem to the tune of “The Yellow Rose of Texas”—the movie feels, at times, “like an extended Drunk History production.” Eventually, though, it “finds its rhythms,” said Moira Macdonald in The Seattle Times. And behind the slapstick it “has something important to say.” The myth of Dickinson as a recluse may have been the invention of an editor, Mabel Loomis Todd, who considered the truth too scandalous. Listen, instead, to the poems.
Courtesy of Parkwood Entertainment, AP, Greenwich Entertainment ■