Shirley is a biographical drama film directed by Josephine Decker. The plot recounts the life of Shirley Jackson the famous horror writer, showing her struggles and her triumphs as she writes a novel and battles the world.
This film is good for two main reasons: the writing and Elizabeth Moss.
Moss is quietly making a name for herself in the horror/ thriller space, and for good reason to. She is captivating to watch on screen and her face conveys emotion with ease. We believe her characters mental struggles, we believe the genius and it is all because of Moss who shows us a myriad of emotions with ease.
The other strength is the writing that seamlessly merges different plot lines and sub plots to create a very dense layered overall narrative. The character dialogue is tense and snappy, it reminds me of Sorkin in a way. The thrills don’t come from anything scary or from any intense action, but rather from the subtly of the dialogue and the jagged barbs hidden within.
My one complaint of the film is that it is too long. The last act drags, and I would say the film as a whole is about fifteen to twenty minutes too long, as I was losing interest towards the end- this is the films fatal flaw.
Overall, this is a very tense emotional ride with a great performance from Elizabeth Moss.
The mystery and the drama
The trippy sequences
The third act is poorly paced.
Reviewed by Luke