I came across a sentence in an NYT article

A plaintive, slow-boiling, quietly soul-stirring drama about a woman coming into her own, Middle of Nowhere carries the imprimatur of Sundance, but without the dreary stereotypes or self-satisfied politics that can (at times unfairly) characterize its offerings.

Most search results appear to be about cooking. I understand the word is used figuratively here, but what does it mean exactly?

  • It does not have an exact meaning. Figurative language does not denote, it connotes. What would it mean for a movie to simmer? I am tempted to downvote. :) May 29 '18 at 18:31
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo Great point... Thought some connotations might be more idiomatic than others so it wouldn't hurt to ask.
    – Eddie Kal
    May 29 '18 at 18:39

It's using cooking as a metaphor. If a pot of something is "slow-boiling", it's cooking, but it's not cooking rapidly. It's just slowly, slowly cooking the food.

The writer is saying that this movie is not an action-packed thriller. It's not car chases and shoot-outs. The story moves slowly but steadily to a conclusion.

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