‘Shirley’: Film Review

  • Variety
‘Shirley’: Film Review
Shirley Jackson was a real person, a writer best known for her twisted short story “The Lottery,” although the version presented in Josephine Decker’s “Shirley” feels more like a character from one of her own novels. Featuring “The Handsmaid’s Tale” actor Elisabeth Moss in the title role, this queer, hard-to-quantify psychological study isn’t a biopic so much as a séance — a quasi-occult attempt to invoke the spirit of such a singular author, who reinvented a genre before her death half a century ago, via a film that seeks to channel her unsettling style.

If Jackson’s gift was to burrow her way into those corners of the brain one typically keeps under lock and key, then Decker seems like pretty much the ideal director to find the cinematic equivalent — and I say this as someone who’s had an almost allergic reaction to her brand of indie-movie doodles until this point.
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