The Bookshop

Based on the novel of the same name written by acclaimed British author Penelope Fitzgerald in 1978, The Bookshop is a rather typical British period drama that is full of terrific acting performances and a beautiful backdrop but ultimately falters as a result of its surprisingly depressing material often dragging out too long. The plot revolves around a middle-aged widow named Florence Green, played by the great British actress Emily Mortimer, who wants to do something for herself following the death of her husband years prior so she embarks on opening a small bookshop in a small fictional English seaside village. However, she encounters extreme resistance from the downright cruel Violet Gamart, played by Oscar-nominated American actress Patricia Clarkson, who is the de facto pillar of the community. The unscrupulous and mean-spirited Violet for no apparent reason despises Florence for deciding to locate her bookshop at an abandoned historical landmark building known as the Old House. Due to her tenacity and perseverance, Florence is finally able to open her beloved bookshop and develops a relationship with an unlikely customer named Edmund Brundish, played by the always wonderful Golden Globe-winning British actor Bill Nighy, who lives a lonely existence as a single elderly gentleman hermit. The bookshop is doing rather well for some time with the help of a precocious young girl until Violet and her sycophant accomplices continue the effort to evict Florence from the Old House in order to supposedly turn it into a local art center. Towards the end of the film, obstacles and tragedy rapidly engulf Florence and her little bookshop that has been a lifelong dream of hers. Overall, I found it to be a much more dark and sad movie than the charming British film that I was expecting; although the acting is top-notch, the sometimes rather dull pacing hampers an otherwise good movie.

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