TO YOU BY:
The directorial debut of Brie Larson comes with grace and delightful humor. To be honest, I didn’t watch the trailer because the poster alone had me at first glance. I too, like to get covered in paint for no reason. Well, to my surprise, we learn quickly it wasn’t without reason. This film is everything… but not much at the same time. I say this with the utmost adoration for this film.
This is a comedy, folks. However, it isn’t slapstick or raunchy. The humor is pretty dry the whole time, but in the best, simplistic way. It strictly relies on its characters along with their beats. Subtle gestures, mannerisms, and overall personalities carry the humor instilled by Larson’s direction. It’s not full of cop out jokes to make sure there’s something for everyone. It literally is what it is and doesn’t try to be something it’s not. For the script she had to work with, I would say Larson gave it everything she had and more, which makes it more than worth the watch. This film leaves me eager to see what else she has to offer in the realm of direction.
The story begins with our main character Kit, who comes home after failing art school and starts a job as an office temp for a vacuum company. There, she struggles to understand what she wants to do with her life. That is until she meets a whimsical unicorn salesman who presents her with a set of requirements she has to meet in order to get her own unicorn. There are a few times where the film presents seemingly important subplots that fail to come full circle, however I still very much enjoyed where the story goes and what it does for Kit.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
It takes a village. In this case of course, a cast. Every single actor owned their character. Some more fleshed out than others, but either way, every one of these faces is memorable. Larson's performance of Kit is wondrous and electric. Mamoudou Athie plays clever and loyal Virgil, Kit’s sidekick in her unicorn preparation. Samuel L. Jackson slays as always, playing the well dressed charming, yet suspicious Salesman. Joan Cusack and Bradley Whitford nail Kit’s bubbly parents. Notable performances by Martha Maclsaac as Sabrina and Karan Soni as Kevin, whose characters emphasize what this film is essentially about.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
I’m going to be blunt. The score sounds like it was made on a child’s toy instrument and then randomly dispersed throughout the story line. There were many times I wondered why there was whimsey music playing in scenes it didn’t fit. Let’s just say, the sound design in general works when it needs to and is painfully apparent when it doesn’t.
The cinematography and production design comfortably slap. The overall aesthetic is consistent and balanced. There is always a hint of color or warmth where there is dull fluorescent, and a hint of grey where its colorful and warm. It is simple, yet does so much for this story. The camera compliments this as it swiftly moves to the rhythm of the characters.
I like when movies make me think. I also like when a movie doesn’t over do itself and apologize for being what it is. Unicorn Store embraces itself and more importantly Kit in her journey. For such a simple film, there is so much to take away and potentially learn from. Truthfully, this might not resonate with everyone who watches it. As someone who deeply related to this film in a scary amount of ways, I am so grateful it exists.