WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY
By Chris Dugopolski
“Wild Nights With Emily” is a new look at Emily Dickenson, based upon some new information gleaned from many of her poems and letters. It was discovered that the name Susan was erased from many of them and then replaced. This brought rise to the idea that Emily had a lesbian affair with her sister-in-law, Susan Gilbert Dickenson. The film runs away with this belief and becomes a comedy starring Molly Shannon as the lusty, Emily Dickenson and Susan Ziegler as Emily’s brother, Austin Dickenson’s wife, Susan.
Madeleine Olnek wrote and directed this film and has a no-holes barred attitude regarding the affair. Though there is no proof, this film received the approval of Harvard University Press and the Amherst college Special Collections archives to use Emily’s poems and passages from her letters.
The story is told by Mabel Todd, played by Amy Seimetz, as she lectures about Emily after discovering a trunk full of scraps of paper containing the poems and letters. This revised history also includes an affair between Mabel Todd and Austin Dickenson and their open display in Emily’s home is one of the reasons she cannot leave her bedroom.
The movie is fun to watch, but I feel it is looking at the nineteenth century through twenty-first century mores and find it to be unbelievable. However, I enjoyed the film.
GIVE THIS 4 ½ STARS