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Lynn Shelton Movie Moments - The New York Times


The writer and director Lynn Shelton, who in the last decade emerged as a strong voice in contemporary American independent film, has died at the age of 54. Her films often captured regular people facing irregular or extraordinary, scenarios that forced them to view their lives differently. Here is a look at highlights from her filmography, including review excerpts and information on where you can stream the movies.

In Shelton’s first feature (which premiered at film festivals in 2006 but got a theatrical release in 2011), Amber Hubert stars as an actress who, on her 23rd birthday, finds a letter to herself written when she was 13. Then she’s visited by her 13-year-old self in the flesh (Maggie Brown). In her review, Jeannette Catsoulis called the film “a gentle survey of the chasm between youthful dreams and adult reality.”

Considered Shelton’s breakthrough, “Humpday” stars Mark Duplass and Joshua Leonard as two straight friends who pledge to film themselves having sex with each other as ““the ultimate art project.” In his Critic’s Pick review, Stephen Holden wrote that the movie “sees through its male characters’ macho pretensions to contemplate the underlying forces hard-wired into men’s psyches in a homophobic culture.” It was later the source of a French-language remake as well as a play.

In this romantic comedy, Iris (Emily Blunt) invites her friend Jack (Mark Duplass) to stay at her family’s vacation home after his brother dies. While there, he encounters Iris’s sister, Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt), and things get complicated. Describing one of the characters’ encounters in his review, A.O. Scott called it “at once entirely believable and wildly, uncomfortably funny.”

At the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011, Shelton spoke about the film and what drew her to the kinds of characters she wrote:

In this comedy-drama, a massage therapist (Rosemarie DeWitt) finds it difficult to do her job when she develops an aversion to touching people. In his review, Stephen Holden wrote that it took chances that moved beyond Shelton’s previous work: “Its humor is softer and more ambiguous than that of Ms. Shelton’s earlier films, and its characters are harder to pin down.” Shelton spoke about one sequence in this Anatomy of a Scene video:

This drama, written by Shelton and Jay Duplass, stars Duplass as a man released from prison who develops a strong bond with his former high school teacher (Edie Falco). In her Critic’s Pick review, Jeannette Catsoulis wrote: “Exploring big questions through small, intimate moments, ‘Outside In’ is a love story that prioritizes patience and pragmatism over passion.”

In this comedy, a couple (Jillian Bell and Michaela Watkins) go to a pawnshop run by Mel (Marc Maron) to try to sell a Civil War sword that they say contains documentation proving the Confederacy won the war. In his review, Glenn Kenny wrote that while the film has a broad satirical concept, it “is more concerned with its people — marginal folks — and their dreams and disappointments.”

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