The Bookshop (2018)
Leo Tolstoy once said that all literature can be divided into two types of stories: a man goes on a journey, and a stranger comes to town. “The Bookshop” falls into the latter category. The film first caught my attention when it won a number of Spanish Goya Awards, including the Best Film, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay Awards, and also two Gaudi Awards. It is based on a novel by Penelope Fitzgerald and is set in England in 1959. In this story, Florence Green (Emily Mortimer), a widow, opens a bookshop in a small coastal town and is taken aback by all the amazement of its inhabitants at such a move. Florence begins friendship with a reclusive book-lover Edmund Brundish (Bill Nighy) and employs a schoolgirl Christine to assist her bookshop, not even realising the strings that a local woman of power Violet Gamart (Patricia Clarkson) is willing to pull to whisk Florence out of her property and turn the premises of the bookshop into an art centre. It is clear that this little movie can work its charm to the hearts of the audience. However, it has so many problems, including the incredulous tension/antagonist moves and the slow pace, that the film may be best described as a beautifully-wrapped gift in a mawkish gift paper which really takes too long to open and when it is opened – nothing but a pile of saccharine and a bitter sense of disappointment are to be found inside.