When is a movie neither drama nor biography? When it’s an unusual hybrid, a re-imaging of someone’s life. Shirley splices into the life of horror author Shirley Jackson, to create an intriguing psycho-drama.
When a nice young couple arrive in Vermont, husband Fred Nemser (Logan Lerman) is delighted to have been offered free board from his mentor Professor Stanley Hyman (Michael Stuhlbarg), and his wife acclaimed horror author Shirley Jackson (Elizabeth Moss). Fred aims to use this opportunity to further is academic position at the university. His wife Rose (Odessa Young) is equally delighted as she too is studying at the university. When Stanley asks Rose to keep an eye on Shirley and help out with the household duties it isn’t too much to ask, is it?
Being a newly minted modern woman, Rose is not comfortable with giving up her studies and returning to household chores. It doesn’t help that chain-smoking Shirley does everything she can to make life miserable for Rose, including making her question her marriage to Fred. But Rose is an intriguing character herself, refusing to give in. Eventually a comment by Rose sees her working her way into Shirley’s heart.
“Disappearing is the only way anyone would notice you there.” Rose.
With Rose as her muse, Shirley is motivated to complete her next novel.
Shirley the movie, is full of secrets and swirling story lines that will keep you wondering where it’s all heading. Sadly the end reminds us that the movie is part biography.
- It’s fascinating watching the emotions play across Elizabeth Moss’s face. Particularly when her husband is reading the first draft of the novel, something any writer can relate to.
- Australian actress Odessa Young does a good job in creating a character who you are left wondering about.
- For any would-be writers out there don’t let this put you off your dream. Not all writers have to descend into madness to create a masterpiece.
For more information go to Luna cinemas.
Rating 4.0 out of 10.