Larson’s Unicorn Store Has Everything You Need
Bart Sullivan, 06-04-2019

Samuel L. Jackson and Brie Larson star in Unicorn Store.
As some people age, there are always things they wish could have been different, things they wish they could have had in their youth because it may have changed their lives—even though these things would probably make no difference, and the wishers’ lives would likely turn out the same. Still, the desire remains, and Brie Larson’s directorial debut, the Netflix film Unicorn Store, takes a magical approach to the resulting disappointment.

After failing in art school and moving back to her parents’ house, Kit (Larson) finds herself in a deep depression, realizing that because of her teachers’ views on art, she has failed at her life’s dream. Attempting to get on with her life, she takes a temp job at an advertising agency, where the awkward vice president, Gary (Hamish Linklater), makes inappropriate offers to help her get a promotion. Meanwhile, Kit receives a strange hand-crafted letter inviting her to “The Store,” a hidden-away place run by a salesman (Samuel L. Jackson)—an even stranger man dressed in a perfectly cut bright pink suit with confetti in his hair—who explains that the store sells, simply, “what you need.” For Kit, he explains that what she needs is something she has wanted since her childhood: a unicorn. To get her unicorn, however, he needs proof that she can take care of it with a stable, appropriate hay, and a loving home. To do this, she recruits Virgil (Mamodou Athie), a handyman from the local hardware store, to help her build an appropriate stable. As they work together, the duo’s relationship blossoms, giving her the confidence to keep going with her life’s plans. These plans are pushed even further when Kit gets the opportunity to make her presentation for her agency’s new job with a vacuum company—a presentation which is turned down because it is too flamboyant and doesn’t fit with their dour, over-sexualized idea of what the world wants.

Coming off of Captain Marvel, Larson proves what is unnecessary to prove—that she excels at everything she does. Unicorn Store combines fears younger generations may have about adult life and real issues that exist in the workplace with an enchanted belief that anything can exist if one believes and works hard enough—an inspirational message not often seen as true. Jackson’s portrayal of the salesman, with his cheerfulness and flamboyance, is a far cry from his regular action roles, including that of Nick Fury (seen most recently in Captain Marvel), yet in every way the role still feels perfect for him.

While the title and trailer might make Unicorn Store feel like a children’s movie (considering the protagonist is trying to find a unicorn), the actual film is far from a juvenile affair, dropping a reality bomb on these beliefs by showing the trials Kit goes through in her career and relationships. Her realization that the one thing she has dreamt of since childhood is not necessarily the thing she needs the most—even if it might not exist to begin with—is something viewers of all ages should see, especially in a world where a great many things are gradually vanishing.

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