Running Time: 84 min

Madeleine Olnek



Film Website

World Premiere
SXSW 2018

Winner: Best Actress – Molly Shannon
FilmOut San Diego

Winner; Best Feature
2018 Film Festival in Long Beach

Long considered a reclusive spinster in the annals of literary history, Madeleine Olnek’s WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY provides a refreshing take on the life of author and poet Emily Dickinson. Starring as Emily Dickinson, Molly Shannon (of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE and SUPERSTAR fame) brings her hallmark irreverence, sincerity, and humor to a film that is both timely and a reflection on the past. Using Dickinson’s letters and poems (with permission from Harvard University Press), Olnek’s film paints a lively portrait of the author and her love affair with childhood friend, Susan Gilbert, that shatters the dowdy and isolated light she has long been cast in.

With petticoats flying and secret garden trysts, WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY depicts the life of a warm and humorous woman forced to hide her identity and lifelong love affairs, while her work was consistently rejected by the conservative, male literary establishment. Dickinson’s work is present throughout the film, but not heavy handed. Olnek does well to frame the tender relationship between Emily and Susan as the two navigate the social, professional, and gender constraints of the 19th century, which, it seems, are not all that different from the present day.