Reading Unrequited (Film Thoughts: The Bookshop)

a952a61e5e6b29332f8f0bed00b472cf1410ae20In a lot of ways, ‘The Bookshop’ is your Anti-Summer movie. It’s small, kind, genteel that it made me wonder how it was greenlit. But, I am glad it exists. Isabel Coixet’s film is very British – set in a sleepy British seaside town, about dry English characters, set in mid century, and the whole movie revolves around the existence of a book store.

Emily Mortimer stars as Florence, who wants to turn an old moldy home into a book shop. But the village diva (Patricia Clarkson) is in her way – she wants to make the place an arts center – where you can do chamber concerts. That is basically the conflict, and really, I thought – why can’t they have the bookshop the same place where you can do chamber concerts and readings? I mean, the little corner of the place could serve that purpose. But no, this is the 50s, and besides, they couldn’t have chosen a better villain than Clarkson, who sashays her way into every scene, and really, she is so fabulous here I want to take her side anyway.

The film very slowly chugs along, and the Anglophile in me loved a lot of it. But admittedly, it could use a lot more action, even interaction. Bill Nighy plays a small memorable role as a customer who defends Florence, and makes a strong presence, but over all, this film is probably too niche for your average American.