Wednesday, April 10th @ 6:30 PM
Director: Isabel Coixet
Cast: Emily Mortimer, Bill Nighy, Patricia Clarkson
Runtime: 113 minutes
Cinema Writers Circle Awards (Spain): Best Film, Director, Cinematography, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor (Bill Nighy); Gaudi Awards: Best Art Direction, Original Score. Eight other wins and 32 other nominations.
“The Bookshop is a gentle, quiet film…it’s beautifully evocative of the musty, inviting smell of a bookshop on a cool day, or of the nostalgic pleasure of old photographs.”—Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
Florence Green (Emily Mortimer), a woman of modest means, decides one day to turn a damp old house in a decaying seaside town into a bookshop, despite condescending discouragement from her banker and lawyer, and genteel but vicious opposition from the wealthy lady of the manor, Mrs. Gamart (Clarkson).
Clarkson plays Mrs. Gamart with terrifying graciousness. She wants to transform the old house into an arts centre, a plan that has nothing to do with art and everything to do with petty power-mongering.
Florence receives quietly valiant moral support from Mr. Brundish (Nighy), the reclusive last remnant of the town’s oldest family. Florence also gets a business boost when she decides to carry 250 copies of Nabokov’s Lolita, newly published in Britain and scandalously successful.
Mortimer’s Florence, who is motivated not so much by high-flown idealism as stubborn everyday determination, holds our attention as the central figure. Her scenes with Nighy are lovely bits of low-key drama and deadpan comedy.
Director Isabel Coixet crafts some pinpoint period atmosphere. She evokes the feel of small-town life in 1950s Britain, making it both peculiar and picturesque.
There is no obvious dramatic conflict, and that is in some ways the point. Director Coxiet is catching the very English quality of the bookshop battle, which is fought through passive-aggressive politeness, subtle class-conscious bullying, and backhanded bureaucratic manipulation.
“The Bookshop” is an old-fashioned mood piece, one that benefits greatly from period atmosphere and dependable work from Mortimer, Nighy and Clarkson.
Thank you to our Sponsor: Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop