A famous horror writer finds inspiration for her next book after she and her husband take in a young couple.
Pam says: Josephine Decker’s artistic signature is evident in this surreal “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf” feel of a film. Elizabeth Moss expertly portrays author Shirley Jackson, a troubled and very unlikeable woman who uses a young couple as inspiration for her new book. Michael Stuhbarg portrays her controlling yet possibly concerned husband in this very unhealthy marriage that somehow works for both of them. Lines are crossed, reality is blurred, and at the end, you’re left questioning what you just saw. It’s a riveting film with skillful performances from this small ensemble cast of characters who deftly convey their innocence or regrets as they look into their rear view mirror or crystal ball of life. And it’s certainly worthy of discussion after the credits roll.
Chuck says: A fictional account revolving around the life of Shirley Jackson is an ambitious attempt to delve into her troubled psyche with a large dose of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” thrown in for good measure. Moss is very good, embracing the author’s troubled behavior, playing her psychosis to the hilt. However, director Josephine Decker doesn’t seem to know which story she wants to tell, approaching the material as a pseudo-biography, then a murder mystery, only to switch gears to turn it into a domestic drama. This lack of focus makes it hard to get engaged, as does the fact that none of the characters are particularly likable.