The Bookshop

It's 1959. Our heroine has been a widow for 17 years. She has decided to open a bookshop in a tiny Anglian town, despite disapproval by a deceptively polite town leadership. The town recluse asks her to send him a few books...no poetry or complicated plots, no Bront├Ęs, more Bradbury. If you are a book lover, you will be peeking at the covers to spot old friends, and the popularity of "Lolita" is acknowledged but the film goer must provide the context.

Writer/director Isabel Coixet ("Learning to Drive"), working from the wonderful novel by Penelope Fitzgerald, has crafted a gentle, deeply felt little PG-rated drama, no raised voices, no gunshots, no armies or Computer Generated Imaging, just a solid story interpreted by a brilliant cast.

We watch:
  • Emily Mortimer ("Match Point," "Dear Frankie," "Lars and the Real Girl") is Florence, a solitary book lover who is quietly positive that there is a place in this town for a nice bookshop. The building may be old and rundown, but those Sea Scouts have stepped up to help.
  • Bill Nighy ("Their Finest," "Blow Dry," "Love, Actually") Edmund is the town legend and that town legend changes as time passes. It doesn't concern him. I pegged him for an agoraphobe, but he does come out when he deems it necessary.
  • Patricia Clarkson ("The Station Agent," "Easy A," "Maze Runner") Violet has been the arbiter of good taste and genteel manners for decades. She is positive the town needs an Arts Center...and that building the new bookshop occupies is perfect. She controls everything.
  • Honor Kneafsey ("Miss You Already") Christine doesn't like to read, but she would like to work in the bookshop, just the same. She finds boys repulsive.
  • James Lance ("Marie Antoinette") Milo seems to have a lot of spare time on his hands. He tells Florence that writers will go anywhere there are free drinks.
There were moments in this film I was awestruck by the quality of the acting. There was a scene with Nighy and Clarkson that took my breath away. There were no histrionics, everything was understated, but you could WATCH their characters think.

I've preordered my DVD, in case you wondered.
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Check out this preview:
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