In quiet mid-19th century Amherst, Emily Dickinson (Molly Shannon) is writing prolifically, baking gingerbread and enjoying a passionate, if clandestine affair with her sister-in-law Susan, who conveniently lives next door. While seeking publication of some of her nearly 2,000 poems, Dickinson faces condescending male literary gatekeepers too confused by her genius to take her writing seriously. Eventually, her work attracts the attention of a scheming would-be writer, who also happens to be Emily’s brother’s lover, and sees Emily’s poetry as a vehicle for her own creative ambitions.
Beneath the quips, period fripperies and not-so-secret trysts is a moving drama of thwarted passion both romantic and artistic that is also a timely critique of how Emily Dickinson’s life was posthumously recast for the genteel sensibilities of her late Victorian readership—a view of her that still dominates today.
Talkback and reception with director Madeleine Olnek to follow. A Greenwich Entertainment Release. “Wild Nights with Emily” opens in NYC at Quad Cinema on April 12.