Review: 'The Bookshop', Starring Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, And Bill Nighy

The Bookshop stars Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, and Bill Nighy. The movie follows the story of Florence Green as she attempts to open up a bookshop in a small town. Through this fight she gains the friendship of a little girl, the admiration of a widowed recluse, and the resentment of a local grand dame.

I unfortunately found this movie to be rather lifeless; there was nothing extremely compelling about it. You would think (or at least I would) that a movie centering around a love for books would have at the least thrown in some poignant, quotable moments of dialogue that would create some kind of stirring emotion like metaphors about books and life or monologued moments that reveal a person's true view on the power struggle that classism creates that, to the cynically driven people, would come off as terribly corny (especially seeing as though this is based on a novel), but other than one line at the beginning of the movie, we get none of that. It's almost as if the movie doesn't even try to be a little captivating.

There was also nothing in this movie that made me feel invested in any of its characters. Florence wants to open up a bookshop because she loves books, but I feel like the movie never really shows and explores her love of books. The movie puts more attention on her journey to opening up the shop much to the opposition of the aristocratic, more high class members of the town, especially by way of Dame Violet Gamart, rather than remembering to also ground us in this love that she is willing to fight so hard for. I felt like the movie made Mr. Edmund Brandish's (side) character - an old, widowed, recluse, who loves books, and hates people - way more established, interesting, and complex than Florence, the lead.

I think that Violet's motivations also could've been fleshed a bit more. So she doesn't want the bookshop to be located at The Old House because she feels as though a historic site such as that one should be put to better use - ok, fine. But when it then comes to explaining why her choice of an art center is better than a book shop, we're left out in the cold with more questions than answers.

It's a shame that this movie didn't really offer much of anything because there are some great and well-known actors in this and they do a great job with their characters, but great acting alone can't save a movie.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5