Shirley ★★★★

Long gone are the days of the traditional biopic, following the artist from childhood through to their success and beyond, and the subgenre has improved considerably as a result. Yet, there aren’t many that feel as obscure and exciting as Josephine Decker’s new film Shirley. That said, it isn't really a biographical account, working more as bio-fiction and taking inspiration from Susan Scarf Merrell’s novel of the same name, which uses an imagined version of real-life horror writer Shirley Jackson (author of The Haunting of Hill House) to analyse her creative mind.

It also helps when you have Elisabeth Moss at the centre of your film. She’s an actress that has been at the top of her game for some time now, only missing the wider recognition her consistently great performances deserve. Playing troubled characters is nothing new for Moss and here she takes on the mantle of a depressive writer locked in a toxic marriage with her gaslighting professor husband Stanley Hyman, while struggling to get a handle on her next novel. The arrival of a young couple into their household unwittingly offers the inspiration she is looking for, although her influence over their lives has a far stronger effect.

Review continues over at The Digital Fix

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