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Andrew

Shirley

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I don't know that this film merits a bunch o' discussion, but I did want to pop in and say I'm relieved to read Joel's and Ken's reviews, and that they were equally underwhelmed.  Nice to know I'm not completely off the mark, since it has only 4 splats out of 30 among RT's Top Critics.

What a disappointment, after loving Decker's previous film, Madeline's Madeline.  I guess I'll go ahead and link to my review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2020/06/shirley-have-an-aesthetically-splendid-time-with-four-awful-people/

Edited by Andrew

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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I've seen only one other Josephine Decker movie, Madeline's Madeline, which was among the best movies of its year. I'd heard mixed things about Decker's follow-up, but enticed by the low price point - could've sworn it was $1.99, but Prime gave me only the $2.99 HD option, which was fine - I watched Shirley last night.

I'm mixed on the film. Decker's camerawork held me throughout, but the story didn't strike me as particularly meaningful. I generally trust storytellers - it's rather rare for me to find myself wondering, while watching a movie, "What's the point, exactly?" But that's what I was asking myself during the story's second half. I never really bought Stuhlbarg's character, and he seems key to the whole thing, doesn't he? 

I read Richard Brody's review (a rave) after the film, and rather than nodding in agreement or at least finding myself challenged to rethink what I'd seen, just sort of shook my head throughout. Not in fervent disagreement, but more in puzzlement. Perhaps I just missed Decker's intent, but Shirley is one of those films that, while it started strong (I was surprised at how frankly sexual this story is, which may mean I wasn't ready for the points Decker wanted to make), got less interesting as it went. I hate it when that happens. I just stopped caring, even though those camera angles and performances kept me watching.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I think I was a bit more positive on Shirley than you both, Christian and Andrew, but I did think it was more an impressive exercise in acting from Moss and Stuhlbarg rather than something I found especially profound or affecting. 

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I didn't like Madelne's Madeline. 

Shirley, by contrast, is my favorite film of 2020 at the halfway point.

My review is up at Looking Closer. 

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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