Unicorn Store – a review (Netflix)

   If you are a fan of the MCU, like me, and watch a lot of the press and promotional stuff online, in the run-up to an upcoming release, you may have noticed an unlikely friendship develop between a couple of the MCU’s biggest stars.

   As the two headline names for Captain Marvel, Brie Larson, who portrays the title character and Samuel L. Jackson, reprising his role as Nick Fury, albeit a younger version, traveled the globe as part of the promotions for the film. 

   As the main focus of the film, and with the MCU not too sure how their first female-led, superhero offering would be received, even with the promise of the highly anticipated Avengers Endgame following, the press still had to be done. It is the MCU way. 

  With Larson being a newbie to the MCU roster, and none of the other stalwarts of the franchise appearing in the film, it fell to Jackson to welcome Larson into the fold. The veteran actor, in his seventies and going strong and the thirty-year-old Oscar winner have formed a close bond, evident in their many interviews together.

   Though some might think that the bond is only due to the fact that they had to work together and promote Captain Marvel, – which I reviewed here – it is obvious that the friendship goes beyond their mutual MCU affiliation. 

    The two come together, in a professional capacity, on Larson’s directorial debut, Unicorn Store. The film was, in fact, made before Captain Marvel. So Larson and Jackson’s kinship began before that which the general public had witnessed. 

   Written by Samantha McIntyre, who also plays the character Sam in the film, Unicorn Store is not a film for everybody. Truthfully, I did not really have high hopes for it. It’s a fantasy film about a grown woman who believes in unicorns. Unicorns. The fictional magical horse with a conical horn.  Like I say, not a film for everyone.

    Surprisingly, I enjoyed it quite a lot. Had I seen it before Captain Marvel, I probably would have enjoyed Captain Marvel a lot more. Brie Larson is a joy as the kooky, refusing-to-embrace-adulthood, Kit. 

   Kit is a failed artist living in her parents, Gladys (Joan Cusack) and Gene (Bradley Whitford) basement. After moping in their basement for a while, she takes on a temporary job working in an office. On her first day she meets the smiley Sam, who asks whether she can use a photocopier. On receiving an affirmative answer, Kit is told she has the job and to find a desk. 

   Kit gets an odd invitation and goes to The Store. She meets a flamboyant salesman (Samuel L. Jackson) who tells her that she can have a unicorn if she meets certain criteria. Kit takes on the challenge. 

   McIntyre’s script and the story are engaging. There are definite shades of the Jimmy Stewart starring classic Harvey about this film, as well as the message of faith over finance and love over conformity. 

  The metaphor of a job that no one really understands why people do it because it could not have been what they dreamed of growing up, is one that resonates with anyone with a creatives soul who has had to face the reality of needing to eat and pay bills, as opposed to following their bliss. 

   Though Kit starts out seemingly as a kooky, woman-child, it is really about her fears and self-belief. More than once, she mentions that she has only ever failed at things. Her need and want of a unicorn give her a focus. As she carries out the task doled out to her by the salesman, Kit is forced to look at different aspects of her life. 

   Ably assisted by a talented cast, Larson’s central performance carries this quirky film that is deeper and more profound than an initial glance would have you believe. An easy watch and amusing enough, Samantha McIntyre’s Unicorn Store is a delightful ninety minute to spend on Netflix. 



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