Wild Nights with Emily
Wild Nights with Emily aka You Don’t Know Dick(inson) gleefully upends long-held cultural believes that the late-19th-century poet was a gloomy, loveless spinster by turning to evidence in the author’s restored letters and writings to present a more accurate version of her happy, romance-filled life.
Buoyed by sharp acting from Molly Shannon as Emily and Susan Ziegler (Hello, My Name is Doris) as her childhood friend turned lover, Susan Gilbert, writer/director Madeleine Olnek presents a string of informative scenes that occasionally conclude with fitting dry stingers to accent the frequent absurdity of the preceding action.
Such indignations come courtesy of various gender inequalities and misunderstandings of Emily’s creations, which reach an apex in Amy Seimetz’s deliciously vile villainess, Mabel Todd, whose power-hungry efforts are the primary reason why the author has been misunderstood for well over 100 years.
Perhaps deserving of a more ambitious filmmaker, Wild Nights with Emily simply exists in this wrong-writing zone, its revisionist history lesson sufficient risk-taking for Olnek, whose visuals are crisp and pacing steady enough, but lacks a discernible style beyond a quasi-Drunk History tone.
Grade: B. Rated PG-13. Now playing at Grail Moviehouse
(Photo: Greenwich Entertainment)