From a distance you could be wrong yellow jackets‘ Shauna Sadecki (Melanie Lynskey) as a woman born to be overlooked. As a teenager, played by Sophie Nélisse, she was the frumpier, more bookish best friend of the effervescent golden girl Jackie (Ella Purnell); in the present, she is a sullen suburban housewife who spends her days cleaning poop stains off underwear and tending to plants in her garden.
Still, Lynskey, who won a Critics Choice Award for her role in the Showtime drama in March, makes Shauna impossible to ignore. Shauna might behave with an air of bleak dissatisfaction, her face defaulting to a frown when no one else is around. But his boredom should not be confused with softness or sweetness. Beneath its soft exterior is a sharp, gleaming core of steel, which Lynskey can release with a tilt of her head or the slightest narrowing of an eye. And anyone who tests her, from the nosy reporter strolling down her driveway to her own bratty teenage daughter, quickly discovers that she’s not afraid to roll out that steel and draw blood. (Literally, in the case of at least one suspicious man and one very unlucky rabbit.)
As the season continues, Lynskey’s Shauna reveals even more layers. A case brings out her reckless streak – which in turn offers her the chance to unleash her inner teenager, laughing with her date over cheap bottles of booze obtained illegally in the parking lot like she never could as a student. The blackmail plot that reunites her with her fellow survivors allows Lynskey to play desperate and panicked — but also, in moments like Shauna’s heart-to-heart with Taissa (Tawny Cypress) during an impromptu, achingly tender sleepover.
Shauna isn’t a loose cannon like Natalie (Juliette Lewis) or a creep like Misty (Christina Ricci), but Lynskey’s performance is unpredictable in her more subtle way. She’s funny in odd moments, like with her deadpan delivery of “I don’t even like my daughter” during an awkward brunch. She makes Shauna’s trauma more raw by downplaying her reactions: when she confides in Natalie that “sometimes I look at the world around me and it’s as if all the light has gone out of it”, her tone remains stable but his voice hangs very slightly. Nearly three decades into Lynskey’s career, it’s no news that she’s a versatile actress, able to move between sweet and tangy, hilarious and heartbreaking with apparent ease. In yellow jacketsLynskey plays all of these notes and more, layered into one heart-pounding symphony.
“Bad things happen in life. I’m fine,” Shauna insists when pressured by the plane crash that derailed her life, but she’s not fooling anyone. allowed to experience every pang of guilt or flash of anger that still haunts Shauna after all these years. ‘a woman who slowly comes back to life – to learn to face not only the darkness she locked away in her safe on her return from the wild but also the joy and the warmth and the curiosity. of the journey to Shauna, Lynskey makes sure she will never be forgotten again.
This story first appeared in a standalone June issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.