Pros: Good selection of performers; an attempt to talk about the topics of growing up and self-perception Cons: Confusion and general lightness; at times the film is just boring and ridiculous Unicorn Store / “Unicorn Store”
Genre comedy, drama
Directed by Brie Larson
Starring Brie Larson (Keith), Samuel L. Jackson (Salesman), Joan Cusack (Gladys), Bradley Whitford (Gene), Karan Soni (Kevin), Mamoudou Athie (Virgil), Hamish Linklater (Gary) and others.
The District Studios, Netflix
Year of release 2017
The Unicorn Store has a difficult fate; work on this film began back in 2012. The film was to be directed by Miguel Arteta based on a script by Samantha McIntyre. The main role in the film went to Rebel Wilson (Isn’t It Romantic, Pitch Perfect). It’s funny that Brie Larson also auditioned for this role, but didn’t make it. Four years later, the actress returned to the Unicorn Store as a leading actress, director and producer. Filming was completed in December 2016, and in September 2017 the film was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival, but was not released. After lying on the shelf for a year and a half, the film came to the attention of Netflix, which loves to receive free PR from the releases of other studios. The directorial debut of the leading lady in a Marvel blockbuster is an ideal find for Netflix. It’s inexpensive, and if you release the film a month after the release of Captain Marvel, then there’s no need for advertising, the film will be well watched anyway. Netflix’s cunning plan seems to have worked.
So, student Kit (Brie Larson) fails her exams at the art academy. Her style is too childish, too candy rainbow. She uses a lot of glitter and paint in the most incredible shades, associated primarily with toys for little girls. However, Kit dresses exactly the same, it seems that she is resisting adulthood with all her might, deciding to linger forever in childhood. Keith returns to his parents’ house and, under their pressure, finds himself a boring temporary job in an office.
And then one fine day there is a letter in her purse inviting her to visit the mysterious “Shop”. There, an eccentric Salesman (Samuel L. Jackson) invites the girl to fulfill her most cherished dream – to get her own unicorn. But you can’t buy a unicorn with money; in order to become a friend of the magical beast, Kit must fulfill a number of conditions.
A great start to a horror film, except Unicorn Store is not a horror film, but a coming-of-age film. A fairly simple parable with a very obvious moral – don’t stop dreaming; remain yourself, despite the condemnation of others; look for a fairy tale in everyday life; accept yourself for who you are. Naturally, while chasing the unicorn, Kit will eventually understand who she is, find a true friend and establish a relationship with her parents, everything in this film is quite predictable.
The problem with Unicorn Store is that despite the magical story unfolding around the main character, the film itself turned out to be too boring and gray. There’s not much to grab onto other than Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson’s crazy costumes. I’m afraid you’ll have a hard time remembering key scenes and dialogue an hour after watching it. Unfortunately, there is no magic in this film.
The potentially interesting theme of Keith’s relationship with his parents is also missed. It seems that there is a conflict here, the excessive love of the parents smoothly flows into constant pressure on the girl, who, in turn, rejects everything that her loved ones do. Alas, the problem is solved behind the scenes and as if by itself, there is no intrigue here.
To be honest, as a directorial debut, Unicorn Store is rather weak. However, from the point of view of acting, despite the participation of seemingly good actors, there is nothing to catch here either. The film just happened to be in the right place at the right time, thanks to Marvel and Netflix. Maybe it will work better next time, Bree!
To be honest, no one would have paid attention to this film if it weren’t for the name of the director and leading actress.