Review: The Bookshop
The main reason I enjoy British period drama is that it transports me to a time that seems so much simpler than our own. That’s a good reason to appreciate this film, which tells the story of Florence Green (Emily Mortimer), a war widow determined to open a bookstore in her new home, the fictional fishing village of Hardborough, Suffolk. Never mind the fact that the sleepy 1950s town is small and remote, and many locals are too busy working long hours to bother with books.
Undaunted, Florence takes on an influential resident, Violet Gamart (Patricia Clarkson), who enjoys throwing her money around just to thwart the plans of others. Florence, eager to open people’s minds to authors like Ray Bradbury and Vladimir Nabokov, tries to purchase a historic home that has room for her shop. But Violet wants to use the space as an arts center, and she even attempts to take over the building by act of Parliament.
Only the reclusive Edmund Brundish (Bill Nighy) comes to Florence’s defense, and the two develop an awkwardly tender friendship. Christine (Honor Kneafsey), a schoolgirl who helps in the shop, provides funny and touching moments as well. The entire cast is quietly captivating, but Nighy gets my vote for the most moving performance in this adaptation of the Penelope Fitzgerald novel.
Should you see it? Yes, if serene period drama is your cup of tea. —J.J.
Viewed at Landmark Plaza Frontenac Cinema