Based on Penelope Fitzgerald’s novel, The Bookshop is set in 1959, and Florence Green (Emily Mortimer), is a free-spirited widow, puts grief behind her and risks everything to open up a bookshop – the first such shop in a sleepy seaside town in England.
Fighting damp, cold and considerable local apathy she struggles to establish herself but soon her fortunes change for the better. By exposing the narrow-minded local townsfolk to the best literature of the day, she opens their eyes thereby causing a cultural awakening in a town which has not changed for centuries.
Her activities bring her a kindred spirit and ally in the figure of Mr. Brundish (Bill Nighy) who is himself sick of the town’s stale atmosphere. But this mini social revolution soon brings her fierce enemies: she invites the hostility of the town’s less prosperous shopkeepers and also crosses Mrs. Gamart (Patricia Clarkson), Hardborough’s vengeful, embittered alpha female who is herself a wannabe doyenne of the local arts scene.
When Florence refuses to bend to Gamart’s will, they begin a struggle not just for the bookshop but for the very heart and soul of the town.
Run-time: 115 mins
3 star review – The Guardian
Emily Mortimer plays the quietly heroic shop owner at the heart of this fascinating Penelope Fitzgerald adaptation
4 star review – the Independent
The Bookshop is an intriguing oddity
“An exercise in cosy heritage cinema with an edge”