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Posts Tagged ‘“Wild Nights with Emily”’

Molly Shannon, Susan Ziegler

“WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY” My rating: B-

84 minutes | MPAA rating

“Wild Nights with Emily” is such an awesome idea that I wish I liked the film more than I do.

When Emily Dickinson died in 1886 in Amherst, Mass., she left behind nearly 2,000 unpublished poems which would lead future generations to regard her as America’s greatest poet.

For most of the ensuing 130 odd years Dickinson has had the reputation of a recluse, a woman incapable of interacting with others. But if that’s the case, if her personal life were so limited, if she never enjoyed human intimacy, how did she come by the ideas and emotions so brilliantly expressed in her writing?

Seizing on recent research into and discoveries about Dickinson, writer/director Madeleine Olnek has given us a film that presents Emily Dickinson not so much as a recluse as a dedicated artist who, by the by, had a lifelong sexual relationship with the woman who would become her sister-in-law. We’re talking some good old-fashioned lust.

Moreover, Olnek presents her yarn as a comedy in which Dickinson’s vastly superior intellect and talents go head-to-head with the doofuses who run the male-dominated literary world of the 1800s. These bozos are so gobsmacked by her poetry that ¬†all they can do is complain that it doesn’t rhyme.

Olnek’s screenplay time jumps from Dickinson’s mature years and her affair with her sister-in-law Susan (Susan Ziegler) back to her adolescence when the two first fell in love (the girls are played as teens by Dana Melanie and Sasha Frolova).

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