The Bookshop DVD

Seeing as books and films have a very intimate relationship, I expect that films dealing with the reading of and contemplation in books, to herald a lot of fascinating detail about the interchange. That is what a film scholar would say, at least. With my review of THE BOOKSHOP, you can forget the two at a cross road. Instead think of this. Hardborough, is a small town on the coast in England. Florence Green (Emily Mortimer), wants to open a bookshop. She is a new widow and sees grief  and love as driving her new establishment. However this mini social revolution, brings fierce enemies and splendid friends. Mrs. Gamart (Patricia Clarkson) is a rich, difficult woman. She wants to bring an arts club to the space occupying the bookshop. Nothing more than an ego massage for her and those leading to benefit. This issue is helped by her connections, who all have Florence in their needy sights. 

THE BOOKSHOP reminded me of an aged boxer. Often slow, methodical and conscious of their craft. They lumber along, occasionally landing blows and finishing the bout with an eye to the next one. THE BOOKSHOP does the same. Scenes plod along. Some feel oddly shaped and are directed without intrusion. As the film reaches its first act, we are fed details to carry us along. Same in the second and by the conclusion it is clear where we are heading. All well and good. However i have to call out the issues I have here. Firstly, the film is obvious. Having no real intention of making itself distinct. Secondly, is that lead Emily Mortimer. She never seems up to the mark of a lead. She lacks the central gravity, she tapers off and when up against Bill Nighy, is left wanting. Finally, the script and its translation feel awkward. Not dull. More it is as if the cast are amateurs and asked to act like it…

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