On May 15, writer/director Lynn Shelton died suddenly at the age of 54 from a blood disorder. You may have never heard her name before, but if you watch TV, you have likely seen and admired her work without knowing it. Shelton directed episodes of Mad Men, New Girl, Fresh Off the Boat, Shameless, Little Fires Everywhere, and an array of other shows.
In addition to her career in TV, Shelton wrote and directed a number of feature films. Shelton chased her dream and began her TV and film career when she was already in her 30s, making her debut with a film called We Go Way Back in 2006. She first came onto my radar with her 2011 film, Your Sister’s Sister, which is a funny, touching, awkward romantic dramedy starring Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass and Rosemarie DeWitt. It is wonderfully written and directed by Shelton, and it features a very fun Emily Blunt role from right before the time her career really hit another gear.
Another notable entry in Shelton’s career was her 2017 film, Outside In, which stars Edie Falco and Jay Duplass in a quiet drama that highlights the difficulties facing former prison inmates transitioning back into society. Like all of Shelton’s work that I’ve seen, it highlights the humanity of its characters and is full of empathy for each individual that fills the screen.
Some of Shelton’s other popular films include Humpday, Laggies and last year’s Sword of Trust.
In a career that spanned just 14 years, Lynn Shelton managed to direct nine feature films, some 45 episodes of television and two standup comedy specials. She won a Sundance award and an Independent Spirit Award, and she is survived by her son, Milo Seale, as well as her partner at the time of her death, Marc Maron.
Outside In is now streaming on Netflix.
I’m Evan Rook