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the bookshop


DIRECTOR: isabel coixet (The secret life of words, my life without me) 
STARRING: emily mortimer, bill nighy, patricia clarkson, and honor kneafsey.

REVIEWER: emily carter

Florence Green, a free-spirited widow, puts grief behind her and risks everything to open up a bookshop -- the first such shop in the sleepy seaside town of Hardborough, England. But this mini social revolution soon brings her fierce enemies.

All the ways to get what one wants in life - The Bookshop shows the good ones, the bad ones and the books along the way.


Florence Green (Emily Mortimer) is a war widow living in a small seaside town in 1959 England. Like waking from a dream, she suddenly knows her exact direction in life - to open a book store. She sets out to buy a worn-out historical home to house an array of books for the discerning reader. But the town of Hardborough is always under the watchful (and controlling) eye of Mrs Gamart (Patricia Clarkson), and a bookshop is not is NOT part of the plan. Florence is suddenly the talk of the town and befriended by town recluse Edmund (Bill Nighy), a man who prefers the company of pages than people.


Emily Mortimer captures all the pure sweetness and genuine kindness of Florence Green - our undeniable hero, not to mention also an entrepreneurial woman during a time when that wasn't always applauded. Patricia Clarkson is an acerbic Mrs Gamart, and is oh-so-good at it! But to me the stand-out was Bill Nighy as Edmund. Viewed as a sad outcast by the town, he is instantly likeable with a blunt manner that cuts through the fuss and over-the-top politeness of the time. He's a refreshing character that is very much needed. 


I was caught up with the quaintness of it all - post-war plots, books, and Bill Nighy are forever a soft spot for me, but even those shining stars couldn't hide a shaky plot. Slow in the parts you don't want it to be, while zipping over other parts worth dwelling on. The frustrating speed of the story makes it feel overall a little watered-down - slightly disappointing for such engaging characters played by a top cast.


The kind of film that makes you want to get the book, both because of the good bits, and the bad ones (a little more plot in the pages perhaps?), The Bookshop is a real mixed bag, but c'mon, it's Bill, and Bill has always got to come out on top.


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