‘Shirley’ Magazine: Elisabeth Moss once again surpasses film as troubled writer Shirley Jackson

Adapted from Susan Scarf Merrell’s book, the film presents Jackson (Moss) as a wreck near the bed, living in Vermont with the wife of English professor Stanley Hyman (Michael Stuhlbarg) when the aforementioned fictional couple lands on their doorstep.

Fred Nemser (Logan Lerman) arrived for the lecture together with his new bride Rose (Odessa Young), who is registered to do housework. Rose’s main job, however, turns out to serve as Shirley’s companion, who – starting from success with short stories – embarks on a novel, despite Stanley’s concerns that in her fragile state she “just isn’t up to it”. “.

It would turn out to be the book “Hangsaman”, which is considered one of Jackson’s best. Yet much more is happening than that, especially for poor Rose. Shirley is dull and violent, while Stanley is eerily leheran and howls at her at every opportunity. It’s a miracle, honestly, that newlyweds don’t run away from home right away, even though Fred’s ambitions were used to explain their ability.

Directed by Josephine Decker (“Madeline Madeline”) written by Sarah Gubbins, “Shirley” struggles with the age-old problem of how to translate the authorial creative process – everything that goes inside her head – to the screen, with a delicious success that includes, unfortunately, strange trans .

Structurally speaking, the project has a theatrical performance, acting mostly in a cramped space, underlining the narrow parameters of Jackson’s real world as opposed to its imaginary one.

The narrative thrust thus becomes Rose’s awakening and a dynamic develops among the women, although Stuhlbarg is quite good, despite the distorted and unattractive nature of his character.

With his TV pedigree from “Crazy People” and “The story of the maid” Moss has gravitated to a variety of challenging film roles, from “Her Smell” to this year “The Invisible Man” with mixed results. Often it overshadows the material, which here again seems to be the case.

“Shirley” was obviously intended for the film festival round, offering a narrowly set story in which it’s easy to admire the performances without feeling like traveling. While Moss captures the complexity of Shirley’s personality, the film sheds a dim light on the fundamental reason why all this.

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At best, “Shirley” serves as a recording of her time, and as the struggles of tortured artists intensified for women in their fifties and early 60s.

Yet, in the same way that “Shirley” works, with Rose’s help, to find the core of her book, “Shirley” faces a similar test, and cinematically speaking, contains several chapters.

“Shirley” premieres at Hulu, on request and in drama theaters, June 5th.

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