Netflix’s Unicorn Store is Brie Larson’s feature directorial debut. A quirky coming of age comedy about a young failed artist who moves home with her parents. She is later offered the opportunity to own a unicorn by a mysterious salesman who works at ‘The Store’.
It’s fair to say that Samantha McIntyre’s screenplay is not going to be for everyone. It’s the kind of film that can only be described as kooky. The premise itself is very strange, as is the lead character Kit. In many ways Kit is an extremely childish character, she has to be in order for her to believe that she will be getting a unicorn. It could make her a difficult character to like, as her childishness can be aggravating not only to the other characters but to the audience. Thankfully in the hands of an incredibly talented actress like Larson she has enough charm and relatability to overcome this.
As a director Larson clearly understands the tone of the film perfectly, capturing the quirky mood perfectly. Larson injects a childlike wonder into Unicorn Store through her striking use of colours to help sell the whimsy. Clearly everything is leaning hard into the quirkiness of the film, and that can be hard to watch if you’re not a fan of the kind of childish whimsy. I think that will be a big dividing line with Unicorn Store with some finding it nearly unbearable, and others completely loving it.
Personally I don’t mind quirky films and characters, but the problem was that many of the laughs just didn’t land for me. There are certainly some funny moments, but not as many as I would hope for from a comedy. Where Unicorn Store was at its best in in the relationship between Kit and her parents. Joan Cusack and Bradley Whitford are excellent as her parents and there are some incredibly sweet scenes between them and Larson later in the film.
I never fully fell in love with Unicorn Store, but Larson certainly showed a good amount of promise as a director. It is possible that if more of the jokes had landed then I would have liked the film a lot more, but Larson’s performance, alongside those of Cusack and Whitford are worth watching Unicorn Store for if you can handle such a quirky film.