Shirley - LFF 2020 - Review: "A Hypnotic Story"

Other | Sunday 5th September 2021 | Francesco

Recreating the gloomy and intense atmosphere of Jackson's books, Baker directs Shirley - a really unconventional biopic. It tells the story of the encounter between Shirley Jackson, her husband Prof. Stanley Hyman, and Fred Nemser, a young graduate student who moves to their house with his wife Rose. The movie is centered around Jackon's torments as a writer and human being, and it explores her condition by exposing her approach to writing and how her occupation affects herself and all the people around her. 


Shirley grabs the viewers' attention by dragging them through a rabbit hole of uncomfortable and tense moments. The main protagonists all have to explore their inner demons, their secret desires, and ambitions. It is a wild ride that also includes a metanarrative dimension. Various narrative levels overlap, and we are lost amidst vision and real events.


It all works out thanks to an incredible Elizabeth Moss. It does not come as a surprise that the actress manages to be excellent in every single shot, but with Shirley, she just embodies Jackson's witty and tormented personality. Shirley is also a movie with impeccable editing, cinematography that creates a hypnotic experience. It is an odd mix of aspects belonging to horror, thriller, and drama. It is a wild and unique ride that anyone should embark on because it is not just a story about a tormented writer, it is a psychological exploration of a set of characters. You can buy Shirley on Prime video. Have a look at the trailer below: