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Wild Nights with Emily


Thanks to our community partner, The Poetry Center.

In this laugh-out-loud, emotionally-engaging period piece that’s part sketch comedy, part historical burlesque, Molly Shannon transforms 19th-century poet Emily Dickinson from tragic spinster to irreverent lesbian heartthrob.

“Like the remarkable poet at its center, Wild Nights with Emily is playful, clever, and alive.” – Kristy Puchko, Pajiba

In Wild Nights with Emily, writer/director Madeleine Olnek (The Foxy Merkins) asks and answers the question: Was Emily Dickinson really a stoic shut-in, as the history books indicate, or what she much more? Planting her tongue firmly in her cheek, Olnek reclaims Dickinson’s identity from the throes of patriarchy, exploring her wildly vivacious side and her lifelong romantic relationship with her best friend and brother’s wife, Susan (Susan Ziegler), recasting her life story through the lens of a love that was (unfortunately) unspeakable in her day. Driven by a crackling and hilarious performance by Shannon that captures the passionate drive of a woman breaking all the rules, Olnek’s film is a deliriously absurd revisionist take on a creative genius and the many men and women who tried – and failed – to bring her down. A timely critique of how women’s history is rewritten, Wild Nights with Emily remains vibrant, irreverent and tender—a perhaps closer depiction of Emily Dickinson’s real life than anything seen before. (Dir. by Madeleine Olnek, 2018, USA, 84 mins., Rated PG-13)

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