The Bookshop

Review: The Bookshop

01 Mar 20

The Bookshop- An Unusual Entry In Today’s Cinema

Penelope Fitzgerald’s novel gets a warm lyrical transfer to the screen in Isabel Coixet’s movie treatment. This somewhat gentle story of a widow (thoughtful performance from Emily Mortimer) moving to an English coastal town in the late 50 s - intent on opening a bookstore while facing heavy resistance from certain locals. It’s always beautiful to look at, with many poetic landscape shots linking the flow of sequences, and an interesting music score adding atmosphere.

Slight but marvellous performances from Bill Nighy as a somewhat mysterious book reading recluse and young Honor Kheafsey as her after-school assistant make this fine viewing for discerning viewers. At times it may have felt as if something was missing, that it might have resembled a TV episode but it’s better than that. It’s something to do with the nature of the story, and the people who make up its subject. While it won’t please everyone (what does?) it manages to leave some warm feelings in a cold sort of way, and even that is different!

It’s always surprising (and pleasing) to find movies of this genre trickling through all the hyper CG action blockbusters and seedy youth fodder & actually managing to make a profit. People still want mind-engagement with soul in their entertainment. And yes, that is Julie Christie narrating the story - drawing the viewer into each situation. Recommended for an easy thoughtful watch.

Great use of Ray Bradbury stories/books to mark the time and Lolita featured prominently to announce the coming of the ‘controversial’ era, for better or worse, depending on your bent.