Playbill Viewing: Hailee Steinfeld, Jane Krakowski, Anna Baryshnikov, and More Reinvent the Belle of Amherst in Dickinson

Film & TV Features   Playbill Viewing: Hailee Steinfeld, Jane Krakowski, Anna Baryshnikov, and More Reinvent the Belle of Amherst in Dickinson
 
Apple TV+'s series about the poet, currently streaming for free, is not your Julie Harris version.

Emily Dickinson probably calls to mind a handful of things: white dresses, seclusion, "I'm Nobody! Who are you?," and perhaps the solo play The Belle of Amherst. What the 19th-century poet probably does not call to mind—save for viewers of Apple TV+'s excellent series, Dickinson—is lesbian affairs, cross-dressing, and Death played by Wiz Khalifa.

The beauty of the series, one of several for which Apple TV+ has removed its paywall for a limited time, is that it takes Dickinson out of the musty pages of history and high school English class and makes her wildly revolutionary poems breathe again within a more modern context.

Starring Hailee Steinfeld as Emily, this version is vivacious, sarcastic, and headstrong, rebelling against her mother's insistence on domesticity (Tony winner Jane Krakowski plays her mother in a delicious performance) and her sister's (Anna Baryshnikov) mooning over unavailable men. Purists will likely balk at scenes in which Emily meets (and is disappointed by) Henry David Thoreau—even if he is played by John Mulaney—but Dickinson is smartly sending up the still-revered men of the era, while making us all rethink our perceptions of Emily Dickinson.

With only 10 half-hour episodes, viewers can easily settle in for a wild night with Dickinson.

Click Here to Shop for Theatre
Merchandise in the Playbill Store
 
Recommended Reading: