“Now that this dream is coming true it just makes me think, what else can happen?”
Brie Larson’s directorial debut of the whimsical comedy Unicorn Store centers on this childlike vision of a life reflecting our most far-fetched dreams. In the film Larson plays Kit, a woman living with her parents following failing out of art school after completing a very eccentric self portrait, to the disapproval of the more “classical” aesthetic of her professors. This leads Kit to make the decision to leave her rainbow, glitter and unicorn loving days behind her as she starts working as a temp at a PR firm. This conformity doesn’t last too long of course, as Kit begins to receive some mysterious letters that lead her to The Salesman (Samuel L. Jackson) who informs her that if she proves to be worthy, she can receive her very own unicorn.
Larson’s portrayal of Kit strikes the right balance of quirky and weird, an ode to the child most of us leave behind but never should have forgotten in the first place. On her journey to building a proper home for a unicorn, Kit gets the help of hardware store employee Virgil played by the wonderful Mamoudou Athie. Athie’s performance helps bring a sense of the rational and the whimsical, a world where both of these might collide at first but can come to coexist. Besides the already established chemistry between Jackson and Larson, Jackson’s role as the unicorn salesman wouldn’t have been the same with anyone else. You just believe Samuel L. Jackson in a pink suit and tinsel in his hair. Another great casting choice in the film comes in Kit’s imperfect yet loving parents played by Bradley Whitford and Joan Cusack.
This comedy certainly won’t be for everyone. The story of an adult woman living in her parents’ basement, building a stable for a unicorn might scream allegory for never wanting to grow up and while Larson’s performance and Samantha McIntyre’s script might have glimmers of that, the film also points to the fact that this is and will always be the core of who Kit is. There is no cynicism here, Kit believed so deeply in unicorns as a child and she never grew out of that, why should she? Kit’s love of everything glitter and rainbows and her style can be dismissed as in-your-face girly but she stays true to this. It is who she is and she learns that she doesn’t have to change anything about it. This is what strikes the biggest cord, as Kit says in one of her most emotionally impactful moments, “you’re gonna love her exactly how she is, even when she thinks that there is nobody who could lover her in the whole world.” You do not have to change who you are to make the world more comfortable. Shine in all of your girly, rainbow splendor and love yourself. That is the most magical thing you can do.