Terence Davies writes and directs this biographical drama about the life of American poet Emily Dickinson. Raised in a well-known family, Emily (Cynthia Nixon) refuses to conform and grows to be a reclusive and isolated woman considered eccentric by most. She defies the expectations of her society and her family, taking no interest in marriage and showing little reverence for God; the only solace she seeks is that that she finds in her poetry. The young woman finds little comfort within her family, facing constant disapproval from her overbearing father, with her sister Vinnie (Jennifer Ehle) providing her only escape from the strict, Puritan confines of her home. As she grows older, however, even her closest relationship begins to fade and illness makes Emily study closely that which inspires much of her poetry: mortality.