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Unicorn Store review - a film for all those lost kids in an adult world

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Unicorn Store is Brie Larson’s directorial debut, released on Netflix in April this year despite having first premiered in 2017 at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Image courtesy of Netflix

It stars Larson herself, playing Kit, a young adult feeling lost after being kicked out of art school. Joining her is her Kong: Skull Island and Captain Marvel co-star, Samuel L. Jackson, playing the loveable and eccentric unicorn store owner.  

The plot follows Larson's character moving back home and taking up a temporary job in a boring PR office to satisfy her parents. However, when she’s invited to ‘the store’, she meets the owner - who convinces her that she is going to adopt a unicorn. 

Already, the plot intrigues because I understand how it feels to be told that I should be pursuing a career that is ‘realistic’, rather than my ‘questionable journalism degree’. Also, it's a freakin' unicorn! So, on I went to watch Unicorn Store, despite the reviews I’d read saying it was too unrealistic and whimsical. 

The first thing I noticed was how relatable the film was. Being told my dreams aren’t attainable? Check. Feeling like I have to change and conform to what others expect of me? Check. Feeling lost and confused whilst being surrounded by people who know what they are doing? Check. 

“I just do what everybody else is doing,” Kit tells her parents after her first day at work, which is exactly what we’re taught all of our adolescence. So, is it really surprising that we all feel a little lost when entering the real world?

Settled into her new job, Kit receives several letters urging her to go to the store and of course, she does. In reality, I’m sure none of us would meet a stranger at a random address, but we’re talking about a film based around adopting a unicorn, so bear with, yeah?

Kit, a character with childhood innocence and not a clue on what she should be doing but trying anyway, has to meet a certain criterion before she can adopt a unicorn. At least that’s what the store owner convinces her. And let’s be real, who can resist a charming Samuel L. Jackson with confetti in his hair?

Kit befriends a carpenter, Virgil, and convinces him to build a stable (for a horse, of course, because who would believe in unicorns?) Meanwhile, Kit is in the process of designing an ad for a vacuum cleaner at work, trying to do what she feels will impress her parents – get a promotion in a boring job. 

By the time Kit completes the steps to getting a unicorn, however, I realised that these steps are kind of like a metaphor – a guide on how to be an adult. Okay, I may be pushing, but hear me out, okay? 

Step 1: Build a home worthy of a “unicorn”, AKA yourself. Isn’t finding a home that you’re comfortable in important when growing up? Especially if you’re not living with your parents anymore?

Step 2: Feed your “unicorn” in body and mind, and also be financially capable of caring for it. Having a job to financially take care of yourself is pretty important now that you’re an adult. 

Step 3: Surround your “unicorn” with love. Having a caring and loving environment is pretty key when ‘adulting’, and this is emphasised by the store owner. If for an animal, why not for ourselves?

Sure, some may argue the film is unrealistic or is just glitter, rainbows and unicorns (quite literally), but if so I don’t think they've given it a chance or understand what it might mean to people at a certain point in life - people who can see themselves in Kit when she’s feeling like a disappointment to her family, or when she’s being compared to her more accomplished friends. Unicorn Store is loveable and funny and relatable; it normalises feeling lost as a young adult and pursuing a dream others think is impossible. 

Lead image courtesy of Netflix

Unicorn Store was released on Netflix on 5th April.




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