I’ve been in the mood for some movies about writers so I checked out this one from Amazon, the only way I know how to rent movies anymore since Netflix isn't in the movie business anymore: Reaching for the Moon, the 2013 film about Elizabeth Bishop and her lover Maria Carlota Costellat de Macedo Soares.
It was very long but I enjoyed it. Glória Pires was charming as Lota and Miranda Otto was suitably dowdy as Elizabeth Bishop. In fact, Bishop is portrayed much less coldly than I imagined she would be. And I must say, I always assumed Carlota died of cancer; I didn’t realize what actually happened (no spoiler alert here).
Treat Williams, whom I had a crush on when the movie Hair came out, played Robert Lowell in two small scenes involving the poem “One Art.” Two love poems are also featured: “The Shampoo” and “Close, Close All Night." Here’s the scene with from the movie with the later poem. “Insomnia” is also featured as the relationship starts to falter. There are many scenes with Bishop struggling to write or work out issues in poems, primarily in her Brazilian studio designed by Lota, who was a famous architect in Brazil. It was during this period that Bishop’s book North and South was published and won the Pulitzer Prize. The setting and performances are top notch.
There’s also a new movie in theaters now about Emily Dickinson, A Quiet Passion. It is me or do both of these movies have dull titles? I haven’t seen this one because I live where independent movies are slow to reach. But the reviews sound great.
Here’s the trailer.
The New York Times Review says this movie is about “the mind of someone who lived completely in her time.” They also say the film “refuses the obvious,” is “visually gorgeous” with lyrical camera work that reflects Dickinson's poems. I also like that Cynthia Nixon recites stanzas of Dickinson’s poems instead of doing voice-over narration. This is another 2-hour epic. Telling the lives of poets takes a while.