Okay everyone, go watch The Unicorn Store … It’s the directorial debut of Brie Larson, who was just so beautiful and wonderful in Room. The Unicorn Store has lots of flaws, it’s a tiny bit slow, and maybe the actor Mamoudou Athie who plays Virgil is lovely but a little self conscious or stiff, but that makes me want to love his attempts even more, because he IS actually being completely authentic. The script isn’t perfect because it leaves us wide open to subjectivity … What the HELL is Brie trying to say with her director debut? But here’s what gets me - she created something that is hugely risky. There is no pre existing format, it’s NOT predictable. This is new. She takes on topics that make you sit in discomfort: parents who do Emotional Therapy out door camping, Samuel L Jackson ( who I adore in anything he makes), as the Unicorn store Salesman (what the hell??), but adorably wearing a full pink suit and playful wig with glitter, just enough pink and glitter to set off our discomfort, or add to it, I can’t decide. I love him even more for taking on a low budget risky film at his age and experience about EXPRESSION …. The film doesn’t answer things for you as you go into it … It doesn’t even really answer anything in the end. In the end, she STILL believes in Unicorns, and now she has a real one. (?!?)
I will have to watch it again but it’s somehow a movie about Intuition and following your own intuition. It’s also a movie about Art and what you love to create, vs. what convention wants you to create. It’s a script about Inspiration, the same inspiration you had as a kid and of course are taught to not listen to when you pop into age 18 and over. It’s a film about fear, and not being afraid … It’s a film about returning into that innocence playful fearless state before the world made you skeptical, serious and full of fear. It’s a film about Showing Up, showing up as you. Best line in the movie, “I know things” … Brie DOES, and better yet, she acts on it, risk and all. Who CARES about the Rotten Tomatoes 61% approval rating? That’s completely not the point.
Maybe the scene that made it all makes sense for me was in the end when Brie’s character is NOT surprised - and her friend/boyfriend Virgil IS surprised at other people’s interest in The Unicorn Store, once word gets out. It’s a film that shows us how loved-starved we all are about listening to our own voices, it’s a movie about self expression vs. convention, self approval vs. other people’s approval … It’s an awkward, slightly uncomfortable film, but that is entire part of the point … To feel things, to open us up, to make us curious …
So wow, I hope Brie keeps directing films. Something tells me she will.