'A Quiet Passion' Reminding Us: Biopics Aren't Always Generic
Modern biopics now tend to come in two distinct flavors: stodgy and reverent, or salacious and ironic. You could easily find good and bad examples of both kinds this year, but writer-director Terence Davies' witty, wonderstruck look at the life and work of Emily Dickinson was a good reminder that this genre's usual-route world was not conclusion (or consigned to endless cradle-to-grave repetition). Blessed with a script that suggested Oscar Wilde tossing out epigram outtakes and a fragile-to-fiery central performance from Cynthia Nixon, the movie was a testament to the strengths of both its subject and its creator. It was reminder that all biopics don't have to be cut from the same cloth – some of them can have tarter tongues and much tender hearts.