Given that there are few activities less inherently cinematic than writing, I’m surprised and heartened by how many good movies I've seen in recent years that have convincingly entered the lives and minds of authors. I’m thinking of A Quiet Passion, the Emily Dickinson biopic, and Shirley, about The Haunting of Hill House author Shirley Jackson. You don’t spend a lot of time watching these women scribbling with their quills or banging away at their typewriters, but you do get a rich sense of how their artistic sensibilities came into being.
The latest fine addition to this group is Emily, which freely speculates about the life of the 19th-century English writer Emily Jane Brontë in the years before she would write her one and only novel, Wuthering Heights. The movie takes significant liberties with what is known about Emily and her famous sisters, Charlotte and Anne, but as a non-stickler for biopic accuracy, I didn’t mind. True or false or somewhere in between, this is an engagingly detailed and emotionally truthful portrait of a family of artists. Every character and actor leaves a vivid impression.