Critic Consensus: Elevated by outstanding work from Elisabeth Moss, Shirley pays tribute to its subject's pioneering legacy with a biopic that ignores the commonly accepted boundaries of the form.
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Decker and Gubbins zig just where you might expect them to zag - but for all their departures from fact, they're not bold enough to give the tale quite the kind of vicious twist Jackson herself could be counted on to deliver.
Decker's filmmaking is often dreamlike, but her storytelling has a cruel bite of reality to it-just as Jackson's writing did decades before.
It's easy to admire the performances without feeling like the journey adds up to much. While Moss captures the complexity of Shirley's personality, the movie sheds scant light on the underlying why of it all.
The movie feels not a little like "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" with a literary George and Martha tormenting each other for fun.
The deeper the author plunges into the project, the more subjective the movie becomes, revealing the dark visions that descend on Shirley in ghastly, expressive bursts.
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