Kelly Gallagher ’22
I had my reservations about “Unicorn Store.” The trailer was charming, but the idea of the quirky young adult grappling with the dream-killing, soul-sucking adult world is so frequently rehashed I worried this take on it would be stale. But I thoroughly enjoyed “Unicorn Store,” and would recommend it to anyone seeking a lively, fun film.
The film follows Kit, an artist who struggles to hold onto her dreams after she’s kicked out of art school and takes up a job at a temp agency. While she tries to figure out what she wants in life, she receives a mysterious invitation to “The Store,” where she is offered the chance to fulfill her lifelong dream of adopting a unicorn. Adventure, comedy, and whimsy ensues.
The premise of a Store that specializes in unicorns certainly is imaginative. It’s a blast to see Kit build a stable in her backyard and use Easter egg dye to color hay to feed the unicorn. Kit is witty and enthusiastic, though prickly, and Brie Larson plays her with such zest that you can’t help but enjoy her performance. Kit is definitely weird at times, but she won’t apologize for that, and her determination to not surrender what brings her joy is inspiring. Her success in retaining the creative, wonder-seeking spirit of her childhood is worth celebrating.
I’ll admit that Kit’s emotional journey feels a bit aimless. Kit’s goal is to retain her childlike spirit while navigating the adult world, but she never quite manages to reconcile these elements. For example, when her jaunt into the office world ends up flopping, the film doesn’t explore the consequences of this on her arc. Ultimately, audiences’ enjoyment of the film will boil down to what they want to take away from it. The film succeeds as a colorful, fun reminder to embrace the things you love, but if you’re looking for a thoughtful contemplation on growing up, this probably isn’t the right film.
Brie Larson shines both in front of and behind the camera, starring as Kit in her directorial debut. She’s joined by Samuel L. Jackson, who plays The Salesman. It was exciting to see them reunite after they appeared together in “Captain Marvel,” and fans of their chemistry in that film won’t be disappointed by “Unicorn Store.” I also adored Larson’s screentime with Mamoudou Athie, who plays Virgil, the hardware store worker who ends up joining Kit’s journey. Martha MacIsaac plays Sabrina, Kit’s work friend whose support is all the more appreciated in the unwelcoming office environment.
The film is one and a half hours long, and can be streamed on Netflix. Because of the shorter length, I found it managable to fit a viewing into my busy schedule. It’s a great film to unwind with, especially over Easter break or for a study break approaching finals.