Movie Review: "Unicorn Store"
I, admittedly, never loved rainbows. I always preferred a perfectly paired color combo or trio. Not sure why, exactly, but there you have it.
After watching Brie Larson’s directorial debut on Netflix last night, I’ve been converted. Like the rainbows it so often features, “Unicorn Store” is pure joy.
Brie Larson shines as Kit, a lovable 20-something round-peg who refuses to fit into the square-hole that is adulthood. Upon failing out of art school, she moves back in with her parents (wonderfully played by Joan Cusak and Bradley Whitford) and gets a temp job at a local PR firm. Before the slog of office life can set in and change Kit forever, she receives a string of mysterious (and very colorful) letters inviting her to “The Store.”
There, “The Salesman” (a part for which Samuel L. Jackson is perfect) tells Kit that he can give her what she has always wanted: a unicorn. But first she must prove her worthiness of such a magical gift.
Kit’s journey is ultimately one we all experience. Though we aren’t all presented the opportunity to get a unicorn of our very own (and if you were, I’d like to chat), we all must face a time in which who we are clashes with who the world wants us to be.
“Unicorn Store” is about accepting who you are, loving yourself, and finding a space in this bland world to let your colors shine. It’s about being the round-peg and not converting to the square-hole.
Kit’s struggle to maintain her sparkly, magical self into adulthood is something we all inevitably contend with. Too many of us conform and become what society wants us to be. Kit reminds us that there is magic in the world; most adults just forget that it exists.
“Everybody needs some magic in their lives, even if they’re all grown up.”
At just over 90 minutes, the movie is utterly watchable — and it doesn’t hurt that the pacing is prompt and the themes aren’t in-your-face. There is no lingering in scenes that shouldn’t be lingered in, and the scenes that deserve a bit more length are given their due. The music (composed by Alex Greenwald), like the glitter Kit so loves, sparkles. It’s so wonderfully detailed — from the home-footage montage at the beginning to the production details, to the costumes — I can even forgive the noticeably shaky camera work during an integral scene at a campground retreat.
It’s hard to pick a favorite moment — would it be the culminating scene in which Kit is so close to attaining her dream, when Kit’s friend Virgil (Mamoudou Athie) proves how much he cares about her, or the glitter-infused vacuum presentation? Like choosing a favorite color (something I’m sure Kit, given her love of rainbows, refuses to do), it’s an impossible choice.
“The most grown-up thing you can do is fail at things you really care about,” says Kit’s mom, Gladys.
Sage advice, but wisdom Brie Larson doesn’t at all need. This movie, her passion project and the first in what I hope will be a long line of quirky, incredible films, is a rainbow-filled, joyous success.
None of the photos in this post belong to me.