Saturday, October 21, 2017     Volume: 31, Issue: 46
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Weekly Poll
Do you think the Carrizo Plain should stay a national monument?

Absolutely. The Carrizo is one of the last undeveloped areas of the San Joaquin Valley, a protected habitat for endangered species, and a natural wonder for the public.
Yes, but I don't think it's as clear cut as some think. The Trump Administration should take a look at its status.
The feds should consider reducing the size of the monument.
No. The Carrizo should be privatized. Allow the market to tap into its natural resources.

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New Times / Film

This weeks review
A QUIET PASSION
ALIEN: COVENANT
BAYWATCH
CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS: THE FIRST EPIC MOVIE
EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM
IT COMES AT NIGHT
MEGAN LEAVEY
MY COUSIN RACHEL
PARIS CAN WAIT
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES
THE CIRCLE
THE LOVERS
THE MUMMY

A QUIET PASSION

PHOTO BY HURRICANE FILMS

A QUIET PASSION


Where is it playing?: The Palm

What's it rated?: PG-13

What's it worth?: $ Matinee

User Rating: 0.00 (0 Votes)

Written and directed by Terrence Davies (Of Time and the City) and starring Cynthia Nixon (Amadeus, Sex and the City), A Quiet Passion provides a glimpse into the mind and life of one of America’s most renowned poets, Emily Dickinson.

While Dickinson (Nixon) today is remembered as a brilliant recluse who never left her familial home, she didn’t start out that way. The film begins with a young Dickinson (Emma Bell) who is away at a school for young ladies where she is being forced to choose to convert and submit her life to Jesus Christ or you know, rot in hell. An emotional Dickinson tells the headmistress that she can’t possibly know the state of her soul so soon. That doesn’t go over so well. This moment is pivotal in shaping Dickinson’s attitudes toward religion, spirituality, and later developing her own poetry. Luckily her family is rich enough and liberal enough to pull her out of the school and bring her back home to Amherst, Mass.

Keep in mind it’s the mid to late 1800s and while attitudes toward women aren’t exactly evolved, Dickinson is a white woman from a well-off family and had a certain degree of freedom. Her dad allowed her to write her poems in the middle of the night and even submit them for publication. The film eloquently transitions from Dickinson’s earlier years to a bit later in her life through each member of her family sitting for a portrait then and now. Gradually through the power of CGI, Bell’s face slowly morphs into Nixon’s. It’s beautiful and creepy all at the same time.

The film also narrates certain emotional scenes with Nixon reading lines of Dickinson’s poetry, which ranges from the lighter, “I’m Nobody! Who Are you?” that she joyfully recites to her newborn nephew to the decidedly heavier, “Because I could not stop for death,” that we only hear Nixon say somberly as her family’s carriage carries her dead body away after her funeral.

But between life and death, there is a definite arc in Dickinson’s life, which Nixon captures beautifully. While always preferring the company of her family and a few close friends or even her own solitude, Dickinson in her younger years is someone who wants to be a part of life. While she can’t imagine moving away from her family she does semi-entertain the thought of one day marrying. Things take a turn with the death of her father and she gradually stays in the house more, wearing only a white night gown. Her brother’s affair also really leads her to lose faith in men and marriage and she mourns her beloved sister-in-laws’ heartache as if it was her own. Thrown into the mix is that Dickinson had Bright’s Disease (a condition of the kidneys), which led to painful convulsions and seizures, and it’s easy to see how Dickinson little by little withdrew from the world.

Interestingly enough, in her lifetime only eight of Dickinson’s poems were ever published. While she scoffed at the idea of one’s work being recognized after death, today her nearly 2,000 poems have earned her a spot as one of the most important poets to write in the English language. (126 min.)

—Ryah Cooley