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Film Review: Unicorn Store (2019)

Unicorn Store (2019) is a fantasy comedy directed by first-time feature director Brie Larson, who also stars and co-produces the film. Kit (Larson) has failed out of art school, and is forced to accept adult life when she moves back home with her parents and gets a temporary job at an office. However, when she gets an invitation to come to a store, she meets up with a salesman (Samuel L. Jackson) who offers her the gift of her dreams: a unicorn.

Unicorn Store (2019) – source: Netflix
Whilst many people will be talking about Larson’s role off-screen, it is her performance on screen that is captivating. She fits into the quirky role immediately, and even if the character seems a bit over the top and hard to believe, Larson sells the role here. She is easily the star here, and she shines bright with her large personality and fun performance.
What I really liked about this film was the secondary storylines, particularly about family and relationships. I wasn’t sure what to make of the family storyline to begin, but I found it to be touching and well done by the end of the film. I also particularly connected with the relationship between Kit and Virgil (played by Mamoudou Athie), and found it to be refreshing. It never felt cringe or clichéd, and it is refreshing even in this day and age to see a multiracial couple in the spotlight of a film, which I very much appreciated.
The main thing that this film does is nail it’s aesthetics and tone throughout. This is such a fun little film and the team behind it knows that. I love the entire look of the film, from the production and costume design to the post-production editing that was done to create a full-on, whimsical appearance. Kit’s wardrobe is incredible and helps encapsulate her personality and child-like behaviour in one, the drastic change in tone in the office area works well to create a sharp contrast in atmosphere, and the entire production just looks like it was pulled from a kid’s imagination. It truly is magical.
Unicorn Store (2019) – source: Netflix
You can see Brie Larson’s personality jump out here in her feature directorial debut, and I think she does a nice job here. She made some bold choices with her narrative and visual style which I very much appreciated. I do think it maybe went a little over-the-top and could have been toned down a bit to let the story take the front seat, but I appreciate the artistic style that was chosen overall.
I ended up being disappointed with how the salesman was written and portrayed here. Being played by someone like Samuel L. Jackson, I felt like I was missing him here. It felt like the salesman’s only real purpose was to look off and to make the audience also believe that Kit was wrong for trusting him, but I just found the entire thing to be bizarre. I would have liked some more narrative with him, rather than being a canvas of just personality and little substance.
I also was not a fan of the office sequences throughout the entire film. Whilst I appreciate how jarring they were in terms of tone and colour palette, and that is great from a creative point of view, I never really cared for the narrative of those scenes. I found all of the characters in the office to be underwritten and presented in a way that almost goes along with stereotypes of office workers being boring and working all the time, which did not work for me. I would have liked to have seen some personality in these scenes, and make the characters just feel more fleshed out and human.
Unicorn Store (2019) – source: Netflix
This film is worth checking out, especially since it is easy to access on Netflix. There are some great themes that are tackled throughout the film, and I adore the cute aesthetic the film goes for overall. Whilst I had problems with the script and character development from time to time, I do feel like this is a good debut for Brie Larson as a feature director and I am curious to see where she goes next.

Have you checked out Unicorn Store on Netflix yet? What did you make of Brie Larson’s feature debut? Let me know in the comments below and let’s have a discussion.

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