By Joanna Langfield

At its best, this very dramatic horror tale reminds us of the dynamic at play in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. But this insidious manipulation whirls around what may or may not be a somewhat true story, of when renowned horror writer Shirley Jackson wrote her masterwork, The Haunting of Hill House.

Psychologically and visually dark, dark, dark, Elizabeth Moss stars as the reclusive writer, a woman completely unnerved when her husband, college professor and literary critic Stanley Edgar Hyman, invites a young couple to live in their home. After initially finding the newcomers threatening, Shirley begins to warm to the pregnant wife, another woman questioning her role in the world.

There’s a whole lot to chew on here if you want: including, but not limited to, feminist credo, interpersonal relationships of many kinds and the manipulative nastiness people can play upon one another. There’s also the writer’s process and a recall of what women’s colleges were like back in the 1950s. Or you can just relish in the mystery of it all, the excellent performances from Logan Lerman, Odessa Young, a terrific Michael Stuhlbarg and an outstanding Moss. Some may complain, rightly so, at the relentless darkness of it all here, but, for me, the first shot of Moss, as she turns around to gaze upon the fresh faced newcomer in her home, is such perfection, I gasped and then found myself laughing. Out loud.

One Response to “Shirley”

  1. Shirley | The Movie Minute Says:

    […] Read More […]

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