First, let's look at the real Shirley Jackson – a sharp woman with a journalism degree. She is famous for creating brilliant horror-mystery novels and more than 200 short stories. Shirley was happily married to Stanley; they had four kids together. She managed to do both her writing and all the housework. While she struggled with many difficulties, her optimistic attitude didn't falter. However, the situation in the film is quite twisted. The person we see is unstable, so Shirley's husband controls her life in every possible way: he arranges her day, gives her allowance, chooses people who would work for her. They are equally uncompromising and in love with masterpieces she creates.
The protagonist (Rose) gives the audience a peek into the world of the talented family and, strangely enough, so does the music. The soundtrack is quiet and barely visible, you don't even pay attention to it, unless you're a composer, but there are dozens of sounds in the scenes that make you feel involved into the action. The color palette revolves around sepia; it suits the calm and patient storytelling, with a touch of horror aesthetic. The plot blooms through the ordinary frames, sometimes even a bit too ordinary. The cast is wonderful, the locations are perfect, yet the film lacks something important. It's not unique.