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Just An Ordinary Day (2020 Movie)
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Director: Ifan Barber
Producer(s): Laurence Jackson Hyman

Ifan Barber

Writer(s): Ifan Barber
Composer: Hans Zimmer
Release: December 14th 2020
Running Time: 122 minutes
Budget: 9 Million USD
Box Office: 62 Million USD (Global)
Film Chronology
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Life Among The Savages & Demons

Just An Ordinary Day is an American biographical drama movie based on the life of novelist and writer Shirley Jackson, produced and distributed by Netflix globally, in a partnership with New Line Cinema.

The film, which takes its title from a posthumously released collection of Jackson's short stories, stars Olivia Colman as Shirley Jackson, with Patrick Wilson as her husband Stanley Hyman and focuses on their relationship and its effects on Jackson's writings and health. The film also addresses the struggled power dynamic within the couple due to Jackson's success over her husband's.

Released theatrically on December 14th, 2020, Shirley Jackson's 104th birthday, the film was a critical success and, after awards season acclaim, a higher than expected commercial gross both domestically and globally, before streaming worldwide on Netflix on March 5th 2021.

It earned Olivia Colman her second Academy Award for Best Actress at the 2021 ceremony, whilst also earning Patrick Wilson the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, co-star Laura Linney, who briefly appears at the beginning and end of the film as Jackson and Hyman's youngest daughter Sarah Hyman DeWitt, received a Best Supporting Actress nomination. It is the first Netflix Original Movie to earn an acting accolade at the Academy Awards.

A prequel, titled Life Among The Savages & Demons, was announced shortly after the conclusion of the awards season, the movie would adapt Jackson's memoirs and would take place over the course of the summer of 1954, in the run-up to the publication of Jackson's novel The Bird's Nest. Colman and Wilson have both signed on to return, with Jacob Tremblay cast as Laurie Hyman and Julia Butters as Joanne Hyman.


  • Olivia Colman as Shirley Jackson, a prolific writer of gothic fiction, she is critically lauded but her success has strained her marriage and consequently her mental and physical health. Ryan Simpkins portrays a younger version of Shirley early on in the film.
  • Patrick Wilson as Stanley Hyman, a popular literary critic and writer, he fails to obtain the success that his wife has achieved and this causes a strain on their marriage. Chandler Riggs portrays a younger version of Stanley early on in the film.
  • Laura Linney as adult Sarah Hyman, an author and the daughter of a now-deceased Shirley and Stanley who uncovers her mother's previously-undiscovered memoirs in 1996. Mackenzie Foy appears as a younger version of Sarah in the film's main narrative.
  • Sean Young as Geraldine Jackson, Shirley's overbearing mother.
  • Donald Glover as Ralph Ellison, author of the Invisible Man and friend of the Jackson-Hyman household.


When Sarah Hyman uncovers the lost memoirs of her mother, celebrated novelist Shirley Jackson, she discovers the strained relationships and struggles that her parents endured throughout their lives, successes that may have been key components in their untimely demises. The film chronicles from a teenage Shirley Jackson's difficulty adjusting to her new life at a Rochester high school, through her college years meeting her eventual husband and father of her children Stanley Hyman, before moving forward into the height of her literary career in the later 1950s and early 1960s, before documenting her ill health and ultimate death in 1968. The film focuses its attention of her marriage and its effect on her career and health.


The script was produced by Ifan Barber in mid 2019, and was sold to New Line Cinema to produce by the end of the year. Shooting commenced on location throughout New York and New England during the spring of 2020, casting began in the January prior with Olivia Colman being cast as the lead, with Ryan Simpkins being cast as her younger counterpart. Patrick Wilson also joined the cast as Colman's husband, and Chandler Riggs was cast as his younger counterpart. Laura Linney was a late addition to the cast, joining shortly before production commenced in March 2020. Filming concluded in Connecticut in June 2020 and post-production began immediately. The film was completed by September 2020 and was screened at Venice Film Festival and was critically acclaimed, generating early awards season buzz for the film. Netflix confirmed in October 2020 that they had acquired the global distribution rights to the film from Barber and New Line, and would give the a limited global theatrical run before launching the film on it's streaming service at some point in the first quarter of 2021.


Just an Ordinary Day was released simultaneously in American, British and European markets on December 14th 2020 and was well received by theatre goers. After a longer than anticipated theatrical run, Netflix began streaming the movie globally on March 5th 2021, the Friday following the film's success at the 93rd Academy Awards.


Box Office

The movie grossed higher than expected and earned a global total of $63,000,000 over a release period of around 2 months.


The film was a huge critical success amongst critics and theatre goers, it currently has a 92% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a "B+" rating. Olivia Colman earned universal praise for her performance, winning a Golden Globe, BAFTA and Academy Award for her performance. Patrick Wilson failed to triumph at the Golden Globes and BAFTAs, but unexpectedly claimed the best supporting actor trophy at the Academy Awards. Laura Linney earned a Golden Globe for her performance, but did not earn a nomination at the BAFTAs, and while nominated at the Academy Awards, failed to obtain the trophy.


Shortly after the movie began streaming on Netflix, the company announced they had acquired the rights to Shirley Jackson's semi-autobiographical collections Life With Savages and Raising Demons and would combine the two in a loose adaptation to star Olivia Colman and Patrick Wilson reprising their roles. Netflix released further details in October 2021, with filming having completed the previous summer. The movie focuses on Shirley Jackson and her family's holiday in a quaint Vermont town in the summer of 1954, with Jackson hard at work on her latest novel, she draws from her family and the inhabitants of the town as inspiration of the book that ultimately becomes The Bird's Nest. The film's additional cast includes Alison Janney, June Squibb and Michael Douglas.