Directors: David Gordon Green
Writers: Alena Smith
Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, Jane Krakowski, Toby Huss, Ella Hunt, Gus Birney, Anna Baryshnikov, Adrian Enscoe, Samuel Farnsworth
Episode 01×01: “Because I Could Not Stop” Air Date: 01/11/19
Dickinson is currently available to stream on Apple TV+, with the entire first season avaliabe.
Hailee Steinfeld stars as Emily Dickinson in one of the only Apple TV+ launch shows to release all of its episodes at once. Dickinson is a breath of fresh air, charming, funny and I’m happily going to go back to finish off the season as soon as I can.
Emily Dickinson is known as a famous poet from the late 1800s, but while she was alive, she was considered a weirdo, and never saw her work appreciated for what it was. In a lot of ways, she reminds me of Vincent Van Gogh, who also didn’t live to see a world in which people appreciated his work.
This series created by Alena Smith isn’t looking to tell an ultra-serious period piece about Dickinson, instead, it’s updated the show’s sensibilities to be highly watchable by audiences in 2019. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of Sofia Coppola’s 2006 film starring Kirsten Dunst, Marie Antoinette which was a punk-period piece and broke away from trying to make a super-factual and realistic period film.
Emily Dickinson wants to be a poet, she doesn’t want to wed any potential suitors her mother is sending her way and she most certainly doesn’t like the idea of doing chores all day for the rest of her life. Hailee Steinfeld is charming and perfect for the role of Emily as she dreams of conversations with Death himself (who is played by Wiz Khalifa) and attempts to stop her brother Austin (played by Adrian Enscoe) marrying her lover Sue Gilbert (played by Ella Hunt). As such the show quickly establishes that not only will it portray Emily as the eccentric but talented poet she was, but also won’t play around the fact she was in love and not some crazed person who didn’t desire any human affection that the history books have her written as.
Most impressive of the first episode is how well it was able to convey so many emotions in thirty minutes. The show establishes itself as different very quickly with the use of modern language by the characters and the use of modern music including Billie Eilish and A$AP Rocky, but then it reveals it has a heart at the centre in the final scenes as Emily argues with her father (played by Toby Huss) and Dickinson proves to be more than a wild comedy lathered in coats of true history.