Brie Larson in Unicorn Store


Take three parts ‘My Little Pony’, two parts BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, one part WORKING GIRL, one part SHORT TERM TWELVE, and five parts glitter. Mix thoroughly and bake at 325. The result, if you have followed the instructions correctly, will be Brie Larson’s feature-length directorial debut, UNICORN STORE.

UNICORN STORE introduces us to Kit (Brie Larson), right around the time she flunks out of art school. She moves back in with her parents (Joan Cusack and Bradley Whitford), and spends the first stretch of time in a mild state of depression. In a panic to do something with her life, she takes a temp position at a soul-sucking corporate PR firm. Around the same time, she begins getting cards to come to “The Store”.

When she finally follows one of these invitations, she meets “The Salesman” (Samuel L. Jackson). He reveals that the business is a Unicorn Store, and that one of the mythical creatures can be Kit’s if she only follows the required steps.

Yes, it’s about as kooky as it sounds.

Larson’s directorial debut is laced with sharp comedic timing, several well-timed shots at sexual harassment in the workplace, and complete commitment to an adorkable concept. The idea that a grown woman would be dedicating so much passion, time, and energy in the hopes of getting a mythical beast is completely absurd. Happily, Larson is able to mine the script for some truth to go along with all that absurdity.

Kit’s story is an important one for those who find themselves bogged down with plans not coming together. It wants to remind us that while taking a loss smarts, it’s not the sort of thing we should let define us. What’s more, the film wants us to remember that there are people in the world who have been dealt some really shitty hands…so even if things don’t go to plan, we owe it to them to dust ourselves off and try again.

Nobody will be talking about UNICORN STORE as an awards contender anytime soon, but I don’t really think that’s the point of this movie. This is the product of an artist trying to dream bigger, and take the next step in her creative career. Like Kit, she has created something colourful, joyous, and messy. It might not be perfect, but there will be lots of time for that as Larson’s career continues and she hones her technique.

For now, she has given us a warm and wonderful offering to hold close…and we’ll be wiping glitter off our hands for a good long while.