Dickinson launched alongside Apple TV+ at the beginning of the month. The description mentioned that it would be a modern take on the life of the great American poet Emily Dickinson.
It is much more than a modern take on a person's life. Rather the show is about the external representation of Dickinson's poetry and casts her as a feminist icon in her own moment, finding ways to directly and overtly protest the patriarchy, not in the subtle ways that appear in her work, a vast majority of which were not published until years after her death.
Enough about the poet, back to the show. At its heart, Dickinson is the story of an artist seeking to be seen and heard despite great obstacles. Let us point you to 10 Movies To Watch If You Like Apple's Dickinson.
10 La La Land
La La Land sang and danced its way into our hearts three years ago. Damien Chazelle's musical about a struggling pianist and actress pursuing their dreams in Los Angeles may have been set in the present moment, but hearkened back to a Hollywood that no longer exists.
The film crosses paths with Dickinson through the determination of the two leads to make it. They are both driven by their love of music and movies and intense passion for their art.
9 Edge of Seventeen
While her Oscar-nominated turn in True Grit was Hailee Steinfeld's introduction to American moviegoers, Edge of Seventeen marked a return to form for the budding young star after a handful of supporting roles in mediocre films.
Steinfeld plays a 17-year-old grieving her father's death and forced into an existential crisis when her best friend begins dating her older brother. This gets her into deep trouble and she has no choice except to face the emotions she worked so hard to bury.
Also, she essentially plays the same character in...
Where Edge of Seventeen pulls few punches in showing how grief can upset an adolescent's mind and the many imperfect ways a family tries to move forward with their lives, Bumblebee smooths them over, making for a much more pure-hearted tale. Rather than the whole story, however, Steinfeld's character is the human half of a sci-fi epic, as she helps an injured Bumblebee find his way and rise to the occasion when the planet is at risk.
The best way to describe this movie is not so much a Transformers film -- that has forever been marked by Michael Bay's over-the-top pyrotechnics -- as Star Wars (the original) meets Edge of Seventeen.
7 In This Corner of the World
An anime film set in Japan during World War II? Absolutely. The larger backdrop, the overstory so to speak, is about a nation coming to terms with its own failures and a people left angry and disillusioned by its government's failed promises.
However, the story at the center is about a gifted young artist who struggles to develop her talents because of the social pressures faced by a woman in the first half of the 20th century and the war. Art is also this film's calling card. The hand-drawn animation is nothing short of stunning.
6 Lady Bird
Saoirse Ronan puts in a stellar performance as a young woman on the verge of graduating from her Catholic school. She seeks to escape her current life, including her difficult relationship with her mother.
Tonally, Lady Bird strikes the viewer in much the same way as Edge of Seventeen. There are moments of genuine angst, troubling decisions from someone who does not quite know herself, and moments of laughter, not to mention a realistic touch that is not often captured by movies focusing on a teen protagonist.
5 Eighth Grade
Eighth Grade is one of the mostly unseen gems of the 21st century's second decade. Movies and TV shows set in middle school often hit the Stranger Things mold, where we get a bunch of "nerds" who get bullied once and the social setting is often ignored, or follow in John Hughes's footsteps.
That is not a bad thing per se, especially when it is done well, but it lacks a certain nuance and realism. Eighth Grade does not shy away from the mixed emotions of middle school and its awkwardness, and it is much the better for it.
Elsie Fisher is spectacular.
4 Good Will Hunting
One of the more compelling elements of Apple's characterization of Emily Dickinson is that she seems acutely aware of her talents and is conflicted between family loyalty and her desire to put her abilities to use. She is a genius in an environment not suited for her development.
Good Will Hunting is just that kind of story. Matt Damon plays Will Hunting, a math whiz raised in a blue-collar Boston neighborhood that gets discovered by a Fields Medal (the highest honor a mathematician can win) winning professor and placed in a collision course with a psychologist who makes the young man face the inner demons that are keeping him down.
3 Thelma & Louise
Thelma & Louise tells the story of two women who are, by fate and a desire to break free from the social bonds that have made them feel stuck, forced into taking it on the run to avoid the police.
It is a road picture, albeit one with moments of hard-hitting drama, yet the overall tone is one of mischief and the freedom of not following the rules. The ending scene is forever etched in the minds of those who watch it.
The patriarchy is no one's friend in this movie.
2 To All The Boys I've Loved Before
To All The Boys I've Loved Before was in terms of press coverage, the overlooked film featuring an Asian American female lead released at the end of summer 2018, with Crazy Rich Asians taking up most of the headlines. This Netflix release, however, was viewed by more individuals than the most successful romantic comedy of the decade.
The movie is primarily a wholesome tale about a girl who makes a deal with a guy to set up a fake relationship to get other people interested in them. This sets off a number of hijinks and misunderstandings, making for a very entertaining time.
1 Whisper Of The Heart
Studio Ghibli rewrote the book on anime, taking the industry to artistic and commercial heights previously unheard of, and introduced it to American audiences. While everyone remembers Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke, most people often neglect Whisper of the Heart, a 1995 film written but not directed by Hayao Miyazaki.
It is a hidden gem, a beautifully pure-hearted story of a girl who would love nothing more than to read to her heart's content. Motivated by a fellow artist, a boy she has a crush on, she sets out to write a novel, a fantasy epic.
The movie presents an idealized yet realistic view towards art and writing, something the real and the fictionalized Emily Dickinson understand intimately.