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. 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.
Molly Shannon stars as Emily Dickinson in a dramatic comedy based on Dickinson’s private letters and poems. Entertainment Weekly raves “Molly Shannon breathes wickedly funny life into Emily Dickinson” and IndieWire declares the film “could forever change the narrative of the world’s most famous woman poet.”