Shirley

2020

Biography / Drama / Thriller

0
IMDb Rating 6.3 10 212

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
June 05, 2020 at 07:52 AM

Cast

Logan Lerman as Fred
Elisabeth Moss as Shirley Jackson
Michael Stuhlbarg as Stanley Hyman
720p.WEB
979.91 MB
1280*688
English 2.0
R
23.976 fps
1 hr 46 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Alexander_Blanchett 8 / 10

Absolutely worth to see

Did I just watch the first Best Actress Nomination of 2020? Elisabeth Moss could go that far if they Play it out correctly. She gave an amazing Performance in this intersting written film About Inspiration, desire, and Ambition. The film was very fine crafted and directed and gives us a mixture of "The Hours" ( in certain regards) and "Misery" (ok thats Maybe a bit far stretched ). The other Performance besides Moss are very good too. First of all the Always underrated Michael Stuhlbarg. Absolutely note worthy Performance. He really developed his character in Detail. Ist shocking that he is already underrated for it. Also a very good performacne was given by Odessa Young who Held herself very well against acting heaveyweights like Moss and Stuhlbarg. Logan Lerman was a bit pale and can generally do better. Perfect Vehicle for Elisabeth Moss to shoot her into Oscar stardome and the beginning what could be a very good cinematic year for her.

Reviewed by ferguson-6 7 / 10

a head-scratcher

Greetings again from the darkness. "Thrillingly awful". That's how Rose describes the feeling she had from reading Shirley Jackson's 1948 short story "The Lottery." It's also a likely reaction many will have to watching director Josephine Decker's (MADELINE'S MADELINE, 2018) mostly fictionalized biography of the author known for her widely diverse novels, short stories and articles. The film is uncomfortable to watch and challenging to process, yet thanks to the performances and fascinating interactions, we remain enthralled the entire time.

As the film opens, Rose (Odessa Young, ASSASINATION NATION, 2018) is on the train reading Jackson's divisive story. We gain some insight into her personality as she allows a sly grin to cross her face, and then gets frisky with her husband Fred (Logan Lerman) in a train cabin. Soon they arrive at the home of Ms. Jackson (Elisabeth Moss) and her husband Stanley Edgar Hyman (Michael Stuhlbarg), a professor and literary critic. Shirley is suffering through a bout of depression brought on by writer's block, and though she's initially against the young couple staying with them, she slowly finds a use for Rose. It doesn't take long for us to realize everyone here wants something from the others. Stanley is worried about Shirley's mental stability, so he convinces Rose to take on the domestic chores. Fred hopes Stanley will bless his thesis so that Bennington College will hire him. Stanley seizes on Fred's ambition by having him take over some of his teaching load. Rose endures some harshness from Shirley, but the two ladies end up with an awkward bond which has Rose serving as a quasi-muse for Shirley's new novel.

The new novel is "Hangsaman", which Shirley actually wrote years before this story is set. It's about the disappearance of a college student named Paula, and it's at this point where the visions and/or projections begin. Things get a bit hazy for us ... and for Rose. At times, Shirley is downright creepy. Are we watching something supernatural? Is she a good with or a bad witch ... or something else altogether? At times, Shirley appears to be unraveling - and possibly bringing Rose down with her. But then we hear another of the razor sharp verbal sparring matches between Shirley and Stanley. These are works of art. Stanley needling her just enough to inspire more writing. Shirley fires off cutting remarks as brutal as any wounds a knife fight might cause. It's an advanced course in the creative mind vs the pompous academic. Stanley understands that allowing her to become unhinged is all part of the process, and will likely lead to her best work.

Multiple dynamics between characters creates chaos for viewers. Shirley and Stanley have their gamesmanship, while Shirley and Rose are going down an entirely different twisted path. And then there is odd relationship between pregnant Rose and husband Fred, and again between Fred and Stanley. And we haven't even gotten to what the outside world thinks of Shirley, and how Stanley's disclosed infidelities keep a fire burning inside Shirley, despite her humiliation. There is a lot to take in - domestic life in the era of "little wifey", the strains of starting and maintaining a career, and the inner-demons of the creative mind. One of the key elements that sticks out is how each character is striving desperately to establish their own identity, and given the times, this should be much easier for the men.

Sarah Gubbins' first feature film screenplay is based on the 2014 novel "Shirley" by Susan Scarf Merrell. Again, this is mostly fiction, albeit with nuggets of Shirley Jackson's real life mixed in. Of course Shirley's and Stanley's four kids are nowhere to be found, allowing for more focus on the contrasting featured couples. In fact, Ms. Young's Rose is the perfect "opposite" for Ms. Moss' Shirley, both in looks and demeanor. It's impossible to miss the similarities between this and director Mike Nichols' classic WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? (1966) starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. That one had more yelling, but this one cuts just as deeply. One of the best ever onscreen jabs occurs when Stanley sourly describes Fred's thesis as "terrifically competent", and then adds in a disgusted tone, "There's no excuse for that."

Special notice should be made for the music and cinematography. Composer Tamar-kali (MUDBOUND, 2017) pierces us with music often limited to plucks of cello and/or piano, adding a near-horror element to the frightening interactions we are watching. And with most of the film taking place in the creaky, book-filled house, cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grovlen (WENDY, 2020 and VICTORIA, 2015) expertly captures the harrowing glares of Shirley and the bemused smirks of Stanley in close quarters. The camera work adds to the constant immediacy of each moment.

Shirley Jackson's most famous full-length work was "The Haunting of Hill House" (1959), which was adapted into director Robert Wise's 1963 film THE HAUNTING, as well as another version in 1999. Most recently, it was the source material for the very popular Netflix limited series in 2018. Ms. Jackson did suffer with anxiety issues and agoraphobia, and her writing influenced many who came along later. While Mr. Lerman is a bit short-changed, the other three leads are superb in this film that likely will have very little appeal to the masses ... you know ... those people who can't find pleasure in almost two hours of misery and a head-scratching ending. The end result is a story about Shirley written in a manner that we can envision it as one of Shirley's own.

Reviewed by msbreviews 8 / 10

Shirley is a biopic that breaks every limitations imposed by the genre!

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This was a pretty unusual experience due to the knowledge I possessed before watching this movie. It's the first flick I see from Josephine Decker. Sarah Gubbins has her feature film debut as a screenwriter, so obviously, she's new to me as well. However, the most significant detail is that I didn't know a single thing about Shirley. I had no idea about its plot or even what genre did it belong to, and (like with every other movie) I didn't watch a single trailer. Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid's Tale, The Invisible Man) was the only reason I added this film to my list a few months ago.

I had no idea Shirley was an actual biopic of the real-life horror writer, Shirley Jackson, not even by the end of the movie... and this is the biggest compliment I have to give. It doesn't feel like a biopic because it breaks every barrier set by the genre's limitations. It isn't filmed (DP: Sturla Brandth Grøvlen) like a biopic. It isn't edited (David Barker) like a biopic. Its screenplay isn't similar to one of a biopic. Even the score (Tamar-kali) is far from being a biopic standard. Conclusion: by going blind into this film, it's near impossible to label Shirley as a regular biopic.

How is this a good thing? Well, from the very first scene, the uneasy atmosphere is exceptionally established through Odessa Young's character, Rose Nemser. The latter seems like any other 1950's "wifey", but in her first appearance, she shows that her true self is hiding beneath the well-behaved, well-educated persona. It's hard not to feel enthralled by the weird, intriguing, sometimes creepy interactions between the four main characters. The rough editing helps generate a certain level of discomfort like something doesn't feel quite right. Shirley and Rose's relationship contributes to the strange vibe that permeates the movie.

Shirley is isolated from society and refuses to go outside. Her books are filled with disgusting, thought-provoking, horrific stories that people love to read. But these are the same people who assume how she must be like in order to be able to write such twisted stories. Rose has more in common with Shirley than what their personal book covers may indicate, and these two carry the narrative in a quite captivating, emotional manner. The former is the central character, the one that goes through the biggest development. The latter doesn't change who she is, but gradually shows a different, more vulnerable side, as the (brilliant) last shot of the film (one long uninterrupted take) proves.

Elisabeth Moss was already in contention for several nominations due to her outstanding performance in her previous movie, but with Shirley, she makes sure she doesn't go unnoticed in 2020. Moss has such an incredible range of emotions and expressions that make her shine every time a multi-layered character is handed to her. However, Odessa Young is the surprise here, what a breakthrough! Excellent performance from her, definitely one to keep our eyes on for the next few years. Michael Stuhlbarg is phenomenal by interpreting Stanley, a man who can be sweet and kind as easy as he can be threatening and scary.

It's a film that warrants more than one viewing. Not only due to the perplexing narrative that mixes up Shirley's imagination (there are constant flashes of her visualizing what she's writing) with the real-life story, but also because the characters' relationships are not that simple to understand. All of this can either be looked at as a positive or negative aspect. On one hand, I was always interested and focused on understanding everything related to the story and its characters. On the other hand, the movie can feel aimless during the first half of the runtime.

Undoubtedly very intriguing filmmaking. Josephine Decker delivers an auteur piece (for which she already received an award) that might polarize the general audience due to her remarkably unique biographical work. However, for someone who didn't know anything about the film going in, that first half that I mention above can be really difficult to analyze. Eventually, everything receives their respective explanation, some more efficient than others, but the path to get there isn't linear or smooth in any way, shape, or form.

Also, Logan Lerman's character, Fred Nemser, feels left out compared to the other house residents, and his arc is probably the most predictable and least exciting part of the movie. Technically, each component is as unique as each other. From the editing to the cinematography, passing through the score and the production and set design. Everything elevates Sarah Gubbins' screenplay and Decker's directing in a way that never stops being entertaining and extremely satisfactory for any cinephile.

In the end, Shirley is undoubtedly an auteur film from Josephine Decker, who delivers a remarkably unique biopic that breaks every limitation imposed by the genre. By going in blind, Sarah Gubbins' screenplay may feel strange and aimless throughout the first half, but the intriguing relationships between the main characters and the weirdly captivating narrative are more than enough to create a creepy yet engaging atmosphere. The interactions between Elisabeth Moss, Odessa Young, and Michael Stuhlbarg are as fascinating as their characters, especially Odessa's. All actors are terrific, but Moss guarantees that she doesn't go unnoticed this year, and Young will certainly be in talks for the year's breakthrough performance. Technically, the score is definitely a whole other character, incredibly impactful sound design. On one hand, the shaky cinematography and the rough editing help create the uneasy environment of the house, but on the other hand, they might feel a bit too disorienting and uncomfortable. It's hard to recommend this movie. If you're a fan of Shirley Jackson, this is her biopic, even if it doesn't look like one (the greatest compliment I can give the film). If you value technical aspects, Shirley has a lot to love. However, if you don't belong to one of these two groups, I can't recommend it without first offering a warning that it just might not work for you...

Rating: B+

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