Wild Nights with Emily | Chicago Reader
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Wild Nights with Emily

Most biopics are not known for humor, but comedy frequently prevails in this sparkling indie based on the life of Emily Dickinson. Adapted by writer-director Madeleine Olnek from her 1999 stage play and incorporating recent scholarship and scientific research that debunks the long-held image of Dickinson (Molly Shannon) as a shy, chaste recluse, the movie lampoons 19th-century American mores and skewers the self-important writers and editors who couldn't hold a candle to the Amherst poet they so smugly patronized. Far from being self-effacing, this Emily knows her worth and struggles to overcome discrimination against female authors; she also gives herself unreservedly—if by needs clandestinely—to the girlhood lover who later became her sister-in-law, Susan Gilbert Dickinson (Susan Ziegler). The supporting cast excels, with Amy Seimetz, Brett Gelman, Jackie Monahan, and Kevin Seal making the most of the well-tuned dialogue. But Dickinson's poems are hardly shortchanged: they appear throughout, inventively presented, revealing previously hidden facets of an extraordinary artist.



  • Madeleine Olnek


  • Molly Shannon
  • Amy Seimetz
  • Susan Ziegler
  • Brett Gelman
  • Jackie Monahan
  • Kevin Seal
  • Dana Melanie
  • Sasha Frolova
  • Lisa Haas
  • Casper Andreas
  • Marc Alan Austen
  • Guinevere Turner
  • David Albiero
  • Robert McCaskill
  • Margot Kistler
  • Cynthia Kaplan
  • Stacey Alyse Cohen
  • Darren Lee Campbell
  • Celeste Pechous
  • Joel Michaely
  • Lee Eon
  • David Meyers
  • Holly Battaglia
  • Ron Lynch
  • Jeremy Shane


  • Madeleine Olnek


  • Alex Peace
  • Anna Margarita Albelo
  • Anthony James Faure
  • Casper Andreas
  • David Albiero
  • David Moscow
  • Edwin Scharlau
  • Jasmine Presson
  • Jayne Baron Sherman
  • Jennifer Kriz
  • Jim Stephens
  • Julia Moser
  • Kunal Rajan
  • Lisa Franklin
  • Lise King
  • Madeleine Olnek
  • Max Rifkind-Barron
  • Missy Laney
  • Mohit Soni
  • Philippe de Calan
  • Rufus Parker
  • Todd Remis
  • Tony Clemente Jr.
  • Valeria Lopez

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