The Bookshop

By Angie Raphael

2.5 stars

The title and concept of this film may be enticing for book lovers, but there is never enough at stake to make The Bookshop a worthwhile way to spend a couple of hours. Written and directed by Isabel Coixet, and based on the novel by Penelope Fitzgerald, the film is set in a coastal English town in 1959. Widow Florence Green (Emily Mortimer) decides to open a bookshop in an abandoned house, but influential and rich socialite Violet Gamart (Patricia Clarkson) wants to use the building to establish an arts centre. Only the lonely and mysterious Edmund Brundish (Bill Nighy) is Florence's advocate in her pursuit. Coixet encourages the romanticism of reading with some success. Unfortunately, there is little else the film offers. I kept waiting for some significant plot twist, but when the climax finally arrived the tale was cut short with no solid resolution. It is such a waste of a strong cast too, especially Clarkson who plays a wonderfully vile antagonist compared to Nighy's kind and reserved character. The pair share an excellent confrontation scene but the film would have benefited with even more from them. Overall, The Bookshop needed more substance to be truly enjoyably. As it is, the film is simply too long and boring.


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