[Article contains only very mild spoilers.] When you hear the phrase “coming of age” as it pertains to movies, thoughts immediately turn towards 80’s John Hughes classics like The Breakfast Club or Pretty in Pink. That milestone these days, however, seems to be happening a little later in life. For many millennials, the stereotypical life event doesn’t begin until their twenties. Brie Larson, in her directorial debut, takes on the challenge of conveying a modern coming of age tale. She does so in feel-good fashion with the Netflix original film Unicorn Store.
Unicorn Store tells the story of failed art student Kit as she struggles with adulthood. Kit is a dreamer and has always wanted to have a pet unicorn. While mired in the doldrums of a temp agency job, Kit receives a mystery invitation to “The Store”. There, she can realize her dream of finally experiencing the unconditional love of a pet unicorn.
Unicorn Store a Fanciful Tale of Self-Worth
Brie Larson plays Kit to perfection, conveying a wide range of emotion, drama and humor as Kit journeys along her path of self-realization. Joining her in Unicorn Store as Kit’s parents are acting heavyweights Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) and the always effervescent Joan Cusack. The quirky couple display the perfect balance of support and tough love Kit desperately needs.
Captain Marvel co-star Samuel L. Jackson is his usual, scene-stealing self. Ever present in a shimmering pink suit as The Salesman, Jackson’s character serves as Kit’s de facto life coach. He guides her, through her “how to care for a Unicorn” requirements, towards a much needed life lesson. Core to Unicorn Store is the notion that Individuality is a blessing, not a curse. Embrace it, and you’ll find those that truly love you for who you are.
Relative Hollywood newcomer Mamoudou Athie (The Get Down) plays Virgil, who provides Kit with a grounding force in her life. He also gives her some much needed, even if often skeptical, support. Athie and Larson play off one another with sincerity and believability.
Granted, Unicorn Store is no John Hughes masterpiece. It is, however, an inspiring and positive telling of the modern coming of age story. Simple, silly, and fun, Brie Larson’s directorial debut is worth a look on a “Netflix and popcorn” kind of night.