Hoping to market off of the momentum of “Captain Marvel,” Netflix releases Brie Larson’s 2017 directed film “Unicorn Store,” a movie I can describe as a delightfully cute, drama comedy for the dreamers and artists, but it suffers from a hazy message to its audience. I’m one of Larson’s biggest admirers and fans, but “Unicorn Store” is a filled with so much quirk that it forgets to come full circle and fill us in on what it’s trying to say. Is it best to sometimes abandon your dreams for better dreams? Is it fine to have dreams but embrace adult responsibility? Are dreams for some people, but not for others?
Larson stars as Kit, a dreamy eyed artist who is obsessed with Unicorns. After flunking out of art school she retreats back home to her optimistic parents, both of whom are trying to maintain her optimism. Convinced she has to act like a typical adult to get anywhere in life she takes a temp job at a PR firm. But when she’s confronted by a man who promises to reward her with her very own pet unicorn, she has to figure out how to earn it, all the while preparing for its homecoming.
“Unicorn Store” has its heart in the right place, but much of the film’s message and hazy metaphors make it a somewhat confused experience. There’s never much explanation for Kit or why she acts the way she does. Larson’s skill is without question, but she never seems to know how to play Kit. Sometimes she comes off as child like and naïve, sometimes she seems infantilized by over protective parents, and other times there’s the implication she may just be mentally ill. As a matter of fact, for the majority for “Unicorn Store” I thought it was a movie about a mentally ill young girl coming to grips with her illness and reconciling it with her artistic skill. But once the script rolls around to the climax, pretty much all ambiguity is thrown out of the window.
“Unicorn Store” seems to try to make a point about life and how maintaining the fantasy and dream can be just the same as maintaining reality. From there, there’s a lot of meandering from Kit navigating her office work space, touching a lot of her fellow temps with her charisma, and an awkward, disastrous pitch for a vacuum. Brie Larson is about as adorable as ever offering a performance that’s at least sincere, and she works well off of her cast, including Mamoudou Athie, a hired repairman for Kit who inadvertently is pulled in to her quest for her unicorn. All in all, for all its Capra-esque musings on dreams and fantasies, “Unicorn Store” is flawed, but it is often a charming dedication to dreamers.