MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Josephine Decker
Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Michael Stuhlbarg, Odessa Young
Runtime: 1 hr 47 mins
What It Is: A biopic of writer Shirley Jackson (Moss) and her husband in the mid-20th century. When her husband Professor Hyman (Stuhlbarg) invites a young graduate student Fred (Logan Lerman) and his wife Rose (Young). As things begin to unfold a friendship between the two women begins to flourish. One that may see Shirley finish perhaps her greatest piece of published material. A novel about a missing woman in the forests of Vermont.
So, in certain ways, this film was divisive in certain aspects and we found that we had different insights and findings due to our personal experiences as we are different genders. What follows are both of our reviews, including those differentiating insights in what makes this film so interesting according to our world-views.
Our Grade: A-, Some of the camerawork isn’t all there, I’ve noticed a weird evolution in modern dramas to take a liking to this “emotion-having” sort of handheld sensibility when I think the framing of sister-subject films such as Little Children, Capote, and/or American Beauty with meticulous would have sufficed and brought more confidence to certain moments on screen. Nonetheless, everything worked together flawlessly in offering conversation about feminity, the value of femininity especially in marriage and motherhood, the duality of relationships both romantic and platonic in different sexually-oriented sensibilities…. this was a very smart drama that I am excited to see again.
Our Grade: B+, Such solid storytelling propelled forward by great turns all around. There’s chemistry almost alchemy to the back and forth between each couple. The mid-century Vermont setting elevates the isolation of everything we’re seeing. You almost feel for Rose. I’m not sure how I feel about the ending. It seems almost like it was unsure of what to do. Nonetheless, I enjoy Decker’s style especially in her previous film Madeline’s Madeline and when you combine that with a GREAT script and talented actors you get something really special. Insofar as biopics of great American authors there are so few good ones that this certainly stands out. Likewise, it threatens to change how these narratives are framed (and does well with that) that it is difficult to really look at things like Sylvia and say why didn’t that take any chances.