With great unicorns come great responsibility in Brie Larson’s Netflix exclusive directorial debut, Unicorn Store. Stuck in the middle between a childhood fantasy and a serious adult drama, the film is a rainbow coloured roller coaster of emotions that made me feel depressed, elated, unmotivated, and inspired all in the space of 90 minutes.
After being kicked out of art school for being too childish Kit is forced to move back in with her parents. Feeling the weight of failure she decides to take a job temping at an ad agency. But before she can be completely overwhelmed with the dullness of normal adult life she receives an invitation to The Store where she is given the opportunity to make her childhood dreams come true. And by that I mean buy a unicorn.
It’s a fairly simplistic premise but Unicorn Store aims to tackle an entire range of complex subjects including love, creativity, art, imagination, conformity, sexism, societal pressure, mental health, goals and dreams, family, and how much glitter is too much glitter?
But seriously, whilst the film is often whimsical and light there are undertones of a much more sole crushing reality that viewers may be more familiar with. It’s this juxtaposition that is one of the things that makes this movie so great. Kit is a character that I know I personally identify with. An unrealised dream since childhood, a list of failures, a want to impress ones parents, a different way of looking at the world, and even the 9-5 job to try and subdue some part of yourself that feels like its necessary in order to be successful. Within all of that though is a girl who is just trying to grow up without losing what makes her herself.
There are many moments throughout the film where conformity is questioned. Kit’s extreme version of uniqueness is not completely unbelievable, but is an over exaggeration of a larger point. Towards the beginning of the film during a dinner scene Kit’s dad states, “I love doing what everyone else is doing.” This just really hit the nail on the head for what kind of film I was about to watch. But the question of whether hiding who we really are is better than people not accepting your truth gets complicated when it transcends work boundaries and enters family life.
A big part of this film focuses on Kit’s relationship with her parents. Being youth camp councillors their approach to the relationship was often methodical, and almost clinical, compared to Kit’s pure rainbow fuelled energy. It often became frustrating watching scenes between the three of them and they quickly became my least favourite parts of the film regardless of their importance to Kit’s character arc. There were also moments within Kit’s character that felt out of touch with who I thought she was being set up to be and this sometimes jarred me out of the experience a little bit.
The film itself is very nicely shot, the production design impressive, and the wardrobe was making me want a tassel jacket more than anything in the world. The script written by Samantha McIntyre had me laughing out loud alone in my living room, which is impressive because I normally only laugh audibly if i’m in a large crowd feeding off the energy. There were just some great lines and some extra perfect delivery by the cast, who all gave lovely performances.
However I don’t think this is a perfect film. There was a lot covered in a very short span of time, which meant that topics touched on felt just that little bit underdeveloped, almost like a chef with too many items on the menu. What you get tastes nice, but if there had a small series of specials it could have been absolutely delicious. In saying that though I really enjoyed the film, and watching it did inspire me to be a little bolder in life without worrying what the consequences might be. What Unicorn Store taught me at the end of the day, was there’s no point succeeding at something if you’re not authentically yourself when you do it.
Check out the Trailer for Unicorn Store below exclusively streaming on Netflix.