Amongst the best movies that have been released stateside in 2016, Terence Davies‘ gorgeous, heartbreaking Sunset Song would be toward the top of the list. The British-born director has made some of the best movies of the last few decades, and Sunset Song, along with his staggering 2012 release, The Deep Blue Sea, would already count as two of the best of this decade. And as if he were in danger of not being canonized as one of the leading filmmakers to come out of the UK in the 20th century, he’s got another movie that premiered at this year’s Berlinale: the Emily Dickinson biopic A Quiet Passion.
Not to pit masterpieces against each other here, but even in a career as esteemed as Davies’ oeuvre, A Quiet Passion is a major, politically astute, and, indeed, poetic triumph. Cynthia Nixon‘s portrayal of Dickinson goes beyond simple mimicry and research to touch on the furious yet achingly sensitive impulses that lit her poetry with such unmistakable passion. The supporting turns by Keith Carradine, as Dickinson’s Protestant father, and Jennifer Ehle, as her sister, are magisterial in their poise and unexpected warmth. Above all of this, however, is Davies’ evocative and unpredictable use of imagery and editing, which gives us a full emotional view of the wild, angry inner life of one of America’s greatest poets.
After its bow in Berlin, A Quiet Passion will be next seen at Toronto International Film Festival, where some lucky distributor will hopefully pick it up for stateside release. You can check the official TIFF trailer right below, and fans of Davies in his homeland will have a chance to see the movie this November in UK cinemas. For now, fans of the poet and Davies in America will have to twiddle their thumbs in anticipation, as I am at the prospect of seeing this rapturous and surprisingly funny drama once again.
Here’s the Toronto International Film Festival trailer for A Quiet Passion: