No segue. Dang it, my creative juices are at an all-time low when it comes to my intros. Oh well, one could argue that’s always the way it’s been with me. Ha ha! Self deprecation is fun.
Anyway, the story looks like it’s about a woman who comes to town, erects a bookshop that the higher class citizens of the town don’t want to see, and causes some controversy, while also possibly finding love with a former writer who’s otherwise been reclusive.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Emily Mortimer (THE PARTY , SENSE OF AN ENDING , HUGO , and upcoming films MARY POPPINS RETURNS  and LOST HOLIDAY ), Bill Nighy (THEIR FINEST , NORM OF THE NORTH , HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1 , PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END , LOVE ACTUALLY , and the upcoming DETECTIVE PIKACHU ), Patricia Clarkson (THE PARTY, MAZE RUNNER 2 , and the upcoming SELL BY ), and Honor Kneafsey (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of).
Now for the crew. Writing and directing is Isabel Coixet, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of, and the upcoming ELISA Y MARCELA (2019). Composing the score is Alfonso de Vilallonga, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of. The cinematographer is Jean-Claude Larrieu, known for JULIETA (2016). Finally, the editor is Bernat Aragonés, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of, and the upcoming ELISA Y MARCELA.
Overall, I’m pretty sure I’m going to enjoy this movie just fine, though I’m getting a fairly soap opera feel to it. I mean, the “villain” of the movie is trying to shut down a book store in lieu of a “local art center,” with a very posh line delivery from Clarkson, and then later drops a, “Well I’ve only done what I felt was right,” cliché. Calling it, the movie is going to portray her as a cold-hearted witch, but ham-string that line in there to make the audience feel like she really has depth to her. I highly doubt it, but it’s not like I’ve seen the movie yet, so I look forward to seeing what happens.
This is my honest opinion of: THE BOOKSHOP
Set in England, circa 1959. Florence Green (Emily Mortimer) is a widow who has finally achieved her dream of opening a bookshop in her new (fictional) home town of Hardborough, Suffolk. However, her arrival and that of the bookshop is met with some resistance as the wealthy and influential Violet Gamart (Patricia Clarkson), who would rather see the bookshop be turned into a local art center. Florence faces continued malice from Violet, dwindling sales in her shop, with only her young helper Christine (Honor Kneafsey) and the reclusive supposed-widower Edmund Brundish (Bill Nighy) as her only sources of support.
Ugh, thank God, at least one movie this week that I liked. While certainly not perfect, as it gets pretty soap opera at times, it’s still got quite a bit of charm and likability to pull itself through.
I don’t know why it’s taken so long, but Mortimer is quickly turning into a name that I want to see more of. She is just so charming. She’s has such an innocent face, yet she has this worldly grace that makes you want to hear her talk about anything, or nothing. Thankfully, hanging out with Florence is pretty much what we do. We see this woman try and open up her bookshop and we learn that she happily lives in its otherwise non-ideal living conditions. We never actually see this bedroom that she stays in, sadly, but I bet Mortimer would have been able to sell cobwebs to a spider. But you’re also immediately on her side when she meets with Violet, who uses her influence with the bank to run her out of business. While it’d be easy to assume that Mortimer is a timid mouse, and she kind of is, the woman certainly has an admirable quality of not allowing herself to be intimidated. She stands her ground when the banker tries to make Florence an offer to buy it out from her, but she turns it down immediately and walks right out of the building. Dude, I quietly cheered for her.
Florence is also not a recluse. She ends up employing the sassy young Christine. Seriously, she reminds me of a young Merida from BRAVE, and not just because of her wild and curly hair. But she’s also got a fire that makes you know that no one messes with her. She’s not afraid to give adults the business and give them attitude. With that said, she’s quite adorable. She pretends to not like boys, almost like she’s too sophisticated for them. But more importantly, she has this sweet and loyal dedication to Florence and the bookshop. God, don’t you guys remember the days when you legit loved your work and your boss? Yeah, me either. Anyway, the two definitely have a cute friendship.
And Bill Nighy. Man, put him in front a camera and he’s going to work some bloody magic, I tell ya. Usually I’m used to him being a funny man (or a downright loon), so it’s pretty rare to see him in a more subdued role. Brundish is supposed to be this reclusive dude with a mysterious past. When we officially get to meet him during the dinner scene with him and Florence, he’s a shy, kind of socially awkward fellow, but Nighy works those charms of his and he’s absolutely adorable. Nighy delivers a very heartfelt performance as Brundish strikes up a friendship with Florence, but he isn’t afraid to let his bad self shine when he and Violet have a confrontation. Let’s just say even when Nighy is being a shy nerd, he’s still too awesome to handle.
But with all my praises, I do have a couple of gripes that hold the film back.
For one thing, the narration was unnecessary. Following the trend of narrations that don’t know how to properly narrate, it basically vocalizes everything that we’re already watching on screen, or is mentioned in dialog later on. Also, Clarkson’s character has no depth to her, and is honestly pretty dumb. So, we learned that the building that Florence now occupies for her bookshop has actually been unused for five years. Yes, you heard that right. Five years this building has been doing nothing but housing a whole lot of nothing. So… why does Violet make such a big deal about the bookshop being there? She later uses her influence to legally drive out Florence out of business, so where was that influence for the last five years when she had all the opportunities in the world to make that building a local art center? I’m legit confused.
Overall, I like it. Yeah, there’s a few lame or underdeveloped aspects to the story, as well as an ending that feels ridiculously rushed, the package as a whole is still solid. Charming actors, some great scenes, wonderful character connections, everything necessary for a good date-night movie. It may not be any movie of the year and I won’t say to rush out to see it, but it’s still worth checking out at some point.
My honest rating for THE BOOKSHOP: 4/5
This week’s reviews
- THE LITTLE MERMAID
- THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST
- THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS
- SUPPORT THE GIRLS
Next week’s reviews:
- OPERATION FINALE
- THE LITTLE STRANGER
- LET THE CORPSES TAN / LAISSEZ BRONZER LES CADAVRES
- YA VEREMOS / WE’LL SEE