Going nowhere with a novel about the disappearance of a local girl, writer Shirley Jackson gets the inspiration she needs when two young newlyweds come to stay.
‘I’m a witch, didn’t anyone tell you?’ When we first meet Shirley (Elisabeth Moss), soon to become America’s queen of horror fiction, she seems to be no such thing; just a sad, drunken shut-in, married to a cheating English professor (Michael Stuhlbarg) and blocked as a writer. But with the arrival of Rose (Odessa Young) and her teaching-assistant husband Fred (Logan Lerman), Shirley reveals herself as a far crueller and more sophisticated creature, seducing the innocent girl into becoming her companion and accomplice in the new mystery novel she is writing.
Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf is clearly a touchstone, but Josephine Decker’s psychodrama goes further, blurring the boundaries of biopic and fiction in exploring the cruel forces that can feed creativity.
- The screenings of Shirley on Wed 4 Nov are part of our Cinébites deal: get 30% off any main dish in the Café/Bar with a valid cinema ticket.