The second season of Alena Smith‘S “DickinsonStart with a warning and provocation. “The records of Emily Dickinson’s life, up to and including Sue and Austin’s marriage, are complete and factual compared to what lies ahead.” says narrator, star and executive producer Hailee Steinfeld, an admission that yes, the first season took liberties with history, but this one will do those liberties appearance in contrast, factual. Neither Smith, Steinfeld, nor the Writers’ Room have a choice of whether to continue the story of Dickinson’s Arch from Nobody to one of America’s most famous and enduring poets. Buckle up.
Historical fantasy flights in which head-high bees hang around the main character in their hallucinatory waking life and death is embodied by Wiz Khalifamay be an abomination to purists, people who love the truth, and creative endeavors to read history on the terms of the Creators cannot endure. “Dickinson” wasn’t for her a year ago. It’s less for her now, though Smith leads the series into areas of guess and guess that literary nerds could cushion against its vivid unreality. If not, then this season is not for them, though frankly any insistence that popular culture accurately depicts the fuzzy details of Dickinson’s extraordinary career and curious personality misses the point of popular culture. Even Terence Davies’”A quiet passion” and Madeleine Olnek‘S “Wild nights with EmilyPlay lightly with record-breaking matters.
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“Dickinson” plays on purpose looserand added today’s language to the atmosphere of the 1850s, a screwball rendition of a Sofia Coppola The film takes place at the birth of influencer culture and amid Dickinson’s struggles with the shadows of declining health, her desire to be released, and discomfort with the fruits of release. Season 2 is about fame, notoriety and the hunger for success that goes against public pressure, as well as the unique American desire for More: More wealth, more possessions and more graciously more meaning. Legacy is key here, not just Dickinson’s but Father Edward’s as well (Toby Huss), Brother of Austin (Adrian Enscoe) and sister Lavinias (Anna Katerina Baryshnikov), while Sue (Ella Hunt) is looking for material possessions and new horses to fill the void in her heart left by another unthinkable loss to her belt.
Everyone is welcome in difficult times, and everyone fell for them in “Dickinson”. Emily begins this round of exploits in a doctor’s office where an optician plays James Urbaniak With a meaningless ambivalence, she feeds an equally ambivalent diagnosis about her most recent eye problems. She won’t go blind, he says, but her vision is damaged, or it might or might not. Who knows? No science! “Quiet Emily!” roars Edward as she tries to allay his anger at the doctor’s careless waffling. “Can’t you see I’m yelling at this man right now?” Smith necessarily strayed from the historical footpath, but she retained her sense of humor as a walking stick, incorporating quick joke choices, a referential wink, class satire, and occasional rudeness into Emily’s struggles against existential doubts.
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What is a poet waiting for when she is so painfully aware of what it would mean if her work were in the papers? In “Fame Is A Fickle Food,” the second episode of the season, Emily falls at that very opportunity when she wins the baking contest on the Amherst Cattle Show. Coming first is praise, what the spotlight is, what media attention is, which does ______________ mean an interview in the Springfield Republicans alongside the recipe for Emily’s winning (and absolutely colossal) Caribbean black cake. How can she say yes? It is her ambition to be printed as a poet. And yet, how can she say no when that republicanThe dashing editor Samuel Bowles (Finn Jones) whose interest in Emily is primarily based on her unpublished poems?
Samuel promotes her work as well as her her, or at least this is a possible take on how Steinfeld and Jones play against each other in their shared scenes. But “Dickinson” does not use him as a replacement for the late season one Brian (Matt Lauria); The show wants the audience to see Bowles as a means to an end, which for Emily is a mixed blessing. How much does she want to be the greatest poet who ever lived? What would it mean for you in a holistic sense to be recognized for your poetic talent? Is it okay to be known for their Herculean cheeks instead? (Seriously, Paul Hollywood would give her a handshake without thinking twice.) The last question is at least easy to answer when Sue approaches Emily at a post-competition party in the full of mean girls mode. “I just find it a little absurd, don’t I?” she says with a deceptively sweet smile. “That you will be remembered as a baker and not as a poet?”
Steinfeld responds with an expression that suggests Emily just ripped the life out of her, so the answer to Sue’s question is technically Yes. But “Dickinson” and Steinfeld ensure that the depth of Emily’s character goes beyond simple binary files: she is haunted, figuratively, by her future and literally by the nameless ghost (Will pullen) that appears for the first time on their train journey from their hospital visit. The young ghost appears a few times over the course of each episode, culminating in the unsettling climax of “The Only Ghost I’ve Ever Seen” triggered by a wrongly gone or perhaps “right” séance, albeit floating tables, spectral visits , smaller possessions, and self-playing instruments are so freaky that the distinction doesn’t matter to the characters involved. Poltergeist hijinks are still hijinks even after inflicting themselves.
“Dickinson” enjoys the full step forward into supernatural horror, as sure as Steinfeld accepts the challenge of playing her part without the supporting detail of the primary documents. Her performance, perhaps to anyone’s surprise, is pretty good, and part of the credit for it is how much freed Steinfeld is now that the series has wandered beyond what is known about Dickinson as a person, poet, and genius. She is now better able to fully make the role her own, vulnerable, astute, confident and at the same time completely insecure and of course absolutely side-dividing. “I’m going to kick this town wet, sticky, generously spiced ass!” she explains to her family on the morning of the baking contest. It’s a contemporary one-liner that outlines the full scope of “Dickinson” and pays tribute to Dickinson in its own way. If the latter has been driven by her poetry, then the former is driven by her. The show could have tried to get closer to the story. Turning to imagination and artistic license instead, however, feels like More honest and honors Emily’s mind better than ever sticking to books. [B+]