Shirley Poster

Shirley (2020)

Biography | Thriller 
Rayting:   6.2/10
Country: USA
Language: English

A famous horror writer finds inspiration for her next book after she and her husband take in a young couple.

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User Reviews

shark-43 14 June 2020

Elisabeth Moss & Michael Stuhlbarg are terrific actors & deliver very strong performances in this uneven film. The script is all over the place, the tone if off and the film can't decide if it wants to be an edgy biopic or another Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? I'm a big fan of Shirley Jackson's writing & wanted to like this movie but found it so sloppily made and un-involving, it was a disappointment.

pdbodyshop 4 July 2020

I kept watching this movie to see if it would get any better. It didn't. I only gave it a five because for the most part the acting was good.

dianita-44307 6 June 2020

What a better way to honor Shirley Jackson's legacy than to make you feel like you are in one of her books. The handheld camera and editing plus the wonderful score takes you to that place, where you don't know what's real and what's not and in any other movie this could be disastrous but in this one it works perfectly. The expectations of womanhood and marriage are a very common topic in film, here its addressed in a very creative way, as did Shirley herself, though the metaphor of this lost girl, showing us how Shirley and Rose were lost and overwhelmed by their duties as wives against their true desires. However, all of this only adds to what's for me the highlight of the movie: The outstanding performances of the cast. Stuhlbarg brilliantly portrayed this scumbag philanderer who also loved and admired her wife and her talent. Odessa Young was fearless, giving Rose this many layers and keeping up with the rhythm of the unsurprisingly marvelous Elisabeth Moss. This is (again) Moss's show, she never lets you go, you always have to follow her at her most despicable and at her most vulnerable, without letting you forget that there's strength in this extremely troubled woman. A deeper voice, a mischievous gaze, a battered posture... She knows how to take you places.

nweir-63059 5 June 2020

Actors are good, but this movie is all over the place.

ozjosh03 5 July 2020

I really don't get it. Director Josephine Decker supposedly wants her film to illuminate the life and work of author Shirley Jackson. The actors spent time researching and immersing themselves in the lives of Shirley and of Stanley Hyman. But the film's story is only ever vaguely representative of their lives and personalities. Huge liberties have been taken. To give just one example, this Shirley and Stanley are childless, and seemingly tortured about it, whereas the real Shirley and Stanley had four children. In the end, one can only wonder what the point of this film is. It's no kind of tribute and it neither illuminates, nor explores Jackson's life and work when there's only a passing resemblance to the known facts. Decker actually seems more interested in spinning a story about the creative process, and how all-consuming, twisted and destructive it can be. That's all very well. But Decker's notions have little to nothing to do with Jackson. So why not just admit that her story is fictional? Pretending that it is some kind of biography, however loosely based on facts, just seems dishonest and ultimately exploitative. Ethical issues aside, it also has to be said that Decker's exploration of her Shirley's creative process involves long stretches of extreme tedium, some seriously contrived dramatic scenarios and a great deal of shameless scenery-chewing, albeit by a couple of very fine actors. Given that the melodrama revolves around an academic, his frumpy wife and their young house guests (and attendant sexual tensions) there are whole scenes that play like an uncomfortable homage / parody of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? If only it were even half as amusing and engaging.

dorrioconnor 6 June 2020

I think Moss watched the hours over and over one Sunday afternoon and mimicked Kidman performance. Unnecessary because she talented enough to give her own take. She just didn't. Long, drawn out and wanna be pretentious. Movie doesn't say anything. I really wanted to like it, just couldn't.

aburgan 8 June 2020

Very slow and monotonous. An absolute waste of time. Nothing in the least bit interesting or compelling.

jdesando 23 June 2020

In the early 1960's, without cellphones to distract their enclosed academic environment, Bennington English professor Stanley Hymen (Michael Stuhlbarg) and his genius fiction writer wife, Shirley Jackson (Elizabeth Moss), take in an academic couple, Fred (Logan Lerman), Stanley's new teaching assistant, and his wife, Rose (Odessa Young). Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf is in the air of this literary icon biopic as booze works its magic on the older couple, who no longer need much to invigorate them than bottles of gin. Psychosexual tension abounds.

Shirley is the name of the film, and academic angst is the game.

This fictional take is based on Shirley by Susan Scarf Merrell and adapted by Sarah Gubbins. Whether or not Jackson will publish her scary stories is really just a McGuffin in this dark tale of sex and power in the outposts of the academy. She labors over a true story about Paula, a co-ed who vanished on campus.

In a time of female repression, Rose works her way around Stanley, becoming "little wifey" (Betty Friedan had not yet arrived). Fred, well, he's handsome enough to be busy with co-eds and working his way into a position in this prestigious department while the camera takes to roving at a frenetic pace.

As ambitions begin to collide, cinematographer Sturla Brandth sometimes too quickly moves the camera among them with a shadowing that seems to discourage our learning too much, too close. Rose and Fred capture the gothic ambivalence and danger of the household as they assess for Shirley about her famous short story "The Lottery": "That's creepy," says Fred; "It's terrific," says Shirley. True of the household itself.

Although this domestic drama is tightly wound like the little house it is set in, much is said about marriage, status, words, the creative process, and rivalry than first appears in the rancor and suspicions. Put your thinking cap on; class is in session, and it happens to be fun.

SnobReviews 11 June 2020

"Shirley" benefits from a harrowing lead performance from Elisabeth Moss and an acute sense of storytelling, but I don't get all the hype surrounding the film. . In this drama inspired by a true story; Shirley Jackson, a famous horror writer, finds inspiration for her next book after she and her husband take in a young couple. . Elisabeth Moss is a force and you can't deny that fact, and I really love that "Shirley" is a film featuring strong female leads, a female director and writer. Although, I don't agree with all the positive response this film is receiving. It's not a bad film but it definitely requires a lot of your attention and I don't think it's all it's meant to be. "Shirley" is very much an intriguing story with great performances but the outcome isn't as great as you'd expect. . Follow @snobmedia for all reviews!

13SecondFilmReviews 2 May 2020

But the filmmakers decided to make this film anyway despite a flawed script. Dismal directing and over-the-top performances. This film is so damn boring unless you are interested in looking at close-ups of Elizabeth Moss without makeup emoting strange faces at the camera in scene after scene. Just didn't work.

mbrcf 5 September 2020

This film is, quite ironically as Michael Stuhlbarg's character puts in one of the most vicious lines, both "derivative" and "terrifically competent". It contains decent performances, employs a brilliant score and uses a very smart camera techniques to tells its story. But if you go deep in its core, it's just modern day Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and although Elizabeth Moss and Michael Stuhlbarg are two of the best character actors working today, they're sadly no match for Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

My take from this film was that director Josephine Decker tries her best to make use of her directing skills to elevate this rather straight-forward, conventional story to something else, to make it a surreal and Lynchian piece of art and she succeds to some degree, shifting this to be a puzzle like, dreamesque film that requires multiple viewings to unravel and solve it completely. The thing is, however, that I'm not sure the pay off is worth the time and attention I'll need to dedicate.

Movie Scene

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