I’ve seen Elisabeth Moss now in two truly amazing performances, Her Smell and now Shirley, directed by Josephine Decker and written by Sarah Gubbins. Gubbins has written for two of my other favorites, I Love Dick and Better Things.
But Moss, while she’s nominated up the wazoo for Mad Men and won for Handmaid’s Tale (aside, love the article I just saw questioning it’s readers whether they’d stand up against an oppressive regime…let’s see we have a good percentage of the population wearing masks alone in their car or out alone in open air, clearly, we already have our answer…sadness!), she’s yet to break into Oscar nomination territory.
Hopefully Shirley may be another opportunity, though goodness knows how any of that is going to work this year.
The movie Shirley is based on a novel by Susan Scarf Merrell which contains the mere true to life portion portraying her dysfunctional marriage (my opinion), otherwise known as loosey goosey, open relationship between Jackson and her husband, a Bennington College Professor. The aforementioned is played by another acting power house, Michael Stuhlbarg, who absolutely blew me away in Call Me By Your Name. In Shirley, I totally believe his and Moss’s cat and mouse flip flop relationship.
Likewise, I also bought the chemistry between Odessa Young and Logan Lerman (who won awards and praise for The Perks of a Wallflower), the young couple who comes to stay with Jackson and become enmeshed in the psychodrama of her tortured writing schedule and their mixed up marriage.
Two special aspects of the film were the cinematography and sound. The former arrested my interest with shots of Shirley through other people or crowds, as well as verdant shots of Vermont. And the latter struck me with sounds of a rushing train, blues music, and typewriter keys (just to name a few) that gave a pronounced impression. I’d be willing to bet an hour’s salary that Decker has been influenced by Yorgos Lanthimos, a master of fraught sound effects.
Definitely worth a watch, and someone, give this woman an Oscar Nom!