Seven years ago today, Laggies was released in theaters! The romantic comedy, starring Keira Knightley, Sam Rockwell, and Chloë Grace Moretz, was directed by the late Lynn Shelton. It follows Megan (Knightley) who has an existential crisis after attending her 10-year high school reunion that ends with befriending 16-year-old Annika (Moretz) and her single dad, Craig (Rockwell). In Brigid K. Presecky’s review of Laggies for FF2 Media, she noted, “the first act of the film drips with so much sarcasm and satire that my stomach hurt from laughing.”
Shelton was known for her ability to deftly mix comedic aspects into stories about being human. She frequently balanced light and dark themes throughout her filmography. Before her death in 2020, Lynn Shelton directed seven feature films as well as episodes of the miniseries, Little Fires Everywhere, which earned her an Emmy Award nomination for her episode, “Find A Way.”
In a celebration of Lynn Shelton’s career, Julia Lasker wrote, “On May 16, [Shelton] died from a blood disorder at the age of 54. She had so much ahead of her. She was a bisexual woman who made it as a beloved and successful film director. Her characters were unique and intriguing, her dialogue was authentic and witty, and her stories left audiences with new perspectives to ponder.” Read the rest of Julia’s poignant article here.
Shelton’s last film, Sword of Trust, is about a pawnshop owner, his employee, and a lesbian couple who try to sell a Civil War-era sword to a group of conspiracy theorists. The eclectic group takes a humorous and heartwarming journey that Shelton depicts with her signature effervescent skill. “Sword of Trust is carried by a cast that has a deep understanding of improvisation and what it takes to make an audience laugh. Few moments of the film itself were actually scripted, which allowed its star players, Michaela Watkins and Marc Maron in particular, to really flex their improvisational chops,” states Anika Guttormson in her review, “While these actors certainly showed off their comedic chops, they also wowed in the more serious scenes of the film… It’s truly impressive to watch actors with such a command of human emotions.”
Despite her filmmaking and acting prowess, Lynn Shelton is a relatively underappreciated independent talent in the industry. To combat this, Julia Lasker wrote a piece for FF2 detailing Shelton’s accomplishments. Julia described her as, a “writer and director who has been gracing us with wonderful films since 2008… she has received recognition for her work, including the John Cassavetes Award for her film Humpday at the Independent Spirit Awards and Best Screenplay for her newest film Sword of Trust at the Gijon International Film Festival. However, given the quality and quantity of her projects, the fact that her name is not more well-known is surprising. I’d like to think there’s a reason for this besides her gender, but I’m hard-pressed to find any other reason for the constant underrecognition of her excellent work. Whatever the reason, I will be overjoyed if I can help bring more viewership to this highly-deserving individual.”
Recognize Lynn Shelton’s talent today by watching Laggies on Showtime and Sword of Trust on Netflix!
© Anna Nappi (10/24/21) Special for FF2 Media.
CREDITS & PERMISSIONS
Featured photo: Chloë Grace Moretz and Keira Knightly in Laggies (2014).
Bottom photo: “Lynn Shelton ~ Writer and Director of ‘Touchy Feely'” by Viewminder is licensed with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/