When we first see Emily Dickinson in writer and executive producer Alena Smith’s new show, she isn’t yet the reclusive legend she would later become. As inhabited by Hailee Steinfeld, she’s in her 20s, with only the first sparks of her poetic genius flaring out of her fingertips. But she is wearing a version of the legendary white dress that would come to stand as a symbol for her eccentricities—this one a cotton lawn gown, pin-tucked and hand-pleated.
That’s pretty much the only conventional thing about America’s most famous female poet in Dickinson, a thoroughly psychedelic take on her coming-of-age story—one of the first shows out the gate for the new streaming service Apple TV+. Smith—a playwright and former writer on The Affair and The Newsroom—calls it “a modern American gothic story,” and by modern she means entirely remixed out of any fusty, puritanical expectations into a period piece that only tangentially honors its period: We see Steinfeld’s angsty, rambunctious, queer Dickinson passionately kissing her best friend, Sue (Ella Hunt); telling a suitor that she’s “in love with Death”; and exclaiming, “This is such bullshit” when told to fetch some water as part of her chores…
MacDailyNews Take: It will be very interesting to see how this one does!
Crickets for comments…?
This is one of the few actually kind of unique things that attracts me to consider yet another monthly ding to my bank account.
As much as it fractures her actual bio.
But I don’t think MDN readers are actually the prime target demo. And it may still succeed without much uptake here…