The name Shirley Jackson might not be instantly recognisable to everyone, but no doubt her works definitely are. In her short 48 years of life, the writer produced several highly acclaimed novels, most importantly The Birds Nest and the Haunting of Hill House which have been regarded by many of her contemporaries as one of the greatest ghost stories ever written and a story that has been adapted several times over the years.
Like many great writers though, her own life was filled with its own troubles and challenges, which are the inspiration for this new film which is simply titled Shirly. Starring Elisabeth Moss as the iconic author, the film follows the story of a middle-aged Jackson and her husband “toying” with a naive young couple. The movie definitely has shades of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf in its premise, though it has a far darker and more sinister tone to it that seemingly blurs the lines of what is real and what is fiction:
I don’t know much about Jackson’s actual life and how many liberties this movie is taking with it, but the trailer certainly looks great in an unsettling sort of way. Moss really stands out for what appears to be a fantastic performance by her. Some critics have already tipped her performance here as a possible contender for the Oscars next year, so Shirley is definitely one to look out for. The film is directed by Josephine Decker with the legendary Martin Scorsese serving as producer. Alongside Moss, Shirley also stars Michael Stuhlbarg, Odessa Young and Logan Lerman and is for release on Hulu and on-demand services on June 5.
The official synopsis is below:
Renowned horror writer Shirley Jackson is on the precipice of writing her masterpiece when the arrival of newlyweds upends her meticulous routine and heightens tensions in her already tempestuous relationship with her philandering husband. The middle-aged couple, prone to ruthless barbs and copious afternoon cocktails, begins to toy mercilessly with the naïve young couple at their door.
Last Updated: May 21, 2020