Emily Mortimer, daughter of John Mortimer of Rumpole of the Bailey fame, plays Florence Green–a widow who opens a bookshop in Hardborough, Suffolk in 1959. Florence Green runs afoul of wealthy and powerful Mrs. Violet Gamart (Patricia Clarkeson) who desires to turn the building where the bookshop is located into an “Arts Center.” Green’s only supporter is the reclusive Edmund Brundish played by Bill Nighy. I also loved the role young Honor Kneafsey played as Green’s helper in the bookshop.

Despite the wonderful cast, director Isabel Coixet’s adaptation of a Penelope Fitzgerald novel moves at an arthritic pace. The scenes of the countryside and the water look like a National Geographic special. Coixet tends to take plenty of time both to set up a scene and to transition slowly to the next scene. The Bookshop is 113 minutes but it felt a whole lot longer. GRADE: B

14 thoughts on “THE BOOKSHOP

  1. Steve Oerkfitz

    Good cast but I think I will pass on this. Sounds like a movie that would put me to sleep. Patricia Clarkson was great as the mother in Sharp Objects. Not a lot out there right now to see. Looking forward to The Sisters Brothers, White Boy Rick(I once dated a girl who knew his parents), Venom, First Man, Serenity, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, Glass, Mortal Engines and the remake of Suspiria.

  2. Jeff Meyerson

    Too bad but not surprising. The best thing about Fitzgerald’s books that I’ve read (including this one) is that they’re short. I think I preferred her HUMAN VOICES, set at the BBC during the Blitz in 1940. I like the cast of this, though I don’t think Mortimer is who I pictured as the “middle-aged widow” of Fitzgerald’s novel.

  3. Michael Padgett

    I read several Fitzgerald novels back in the late nineties and I’m pretty sure this was one of them, but my memory of it is gone. The movie seems like something I’d enjoy, if just for the cast, but it can wait until the steaming services get it.

  4. Elgin Bleecker

    George – Were there really shops that just sold books?! Seriously, thanks for the post. I might like this movie more than my wife would. There are lots of slow movies I enjoy (hmmm, there might be a post in that statement). She likes a movie to get on with its story.


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