Get the Latest News Updates

Regina King Steals the Spotlight in ‘Shirley,’ a Focused Glimpse into a Pioneering Political Legacy

28 March, 2024

Regina King plays Shirley
Regina King plays Shirley

Regina King’s outstanding portrayal of Shirley Chisholm shines brighter than the film “Shirley” itself, which focuses intensely on the political pioneer’s 1972 presidential campaign. However, the movie could have explored deeper into Chisholm’s life story rather than fixating solely on delegate accumulation.

Writer-director John Ridley, known for recent works like “Five Days at Memorial,” swiftly introduces Chisholm’s audacious presidential bid without much background, emphasizing her unyielding instincts that often clashed with her advisors’ opinions.

Chisholm’s nuanced approach to controversial topics like school busing and abortion, although impressive, is deemed risky by her team, fearing it may alienate potential supporters.

Regina King’s performance captures not just Chisholm the candidate but also the person behind the politics, exploring her complex relationships with her sister and husband. The film portrays the challenges Chisholm faced and the gritty nature of her underfunded campaign, showcasing the struggle between authenticity and political strategy.

Yet, “Shirley” occasionally gets bogged down in details, missing opportunities to highlight significant moments, such as Chisholm’s surprising visit to George Wallace, her political adversary.

While honoring Chisholm’s historical significance, “Shirley” falls short of fully encapsulating her multifaceted legacy, offering a solid but somewhat limited portrayal of a monumental figure in American politics.