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Parents' Guide to

The Bookshop

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Bittersweet period drama about the joys of reading.

Movie PG 2018 113 minutes
The Bookshop Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 10+

Beautifully shot.

It's a beautifully shot film, with a great cast. There is nothing offensive about it, apart from the villain whose character is vile. Young kids could watch it, but we had to keep pausing it so that we could explain the plot to our 11 year old.
age 10+

Nonsensical PG Rating. It's a G.

A completely suitable movie for all ages. Nothing offensive. Deep themes shouldn't be confused with so-called themetic elements.

This title has:

Great messages

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (1 ):

This subdued period adaptation starring the wonderful Mortimer celebrates the magic of books and bookstores. Mortimer is one of Hollywood's many underappreciated character actresses over 40, and it's a pleasure to see her in a leading role. She's able to convey much with the slightest widening of her eyes and straightening of her posture, and her work here is notably good. And the always excellent Clarkson doesn't disappoint in playing a polite but ruthless doyenne who will get her way no matter what; she's a pro at delivering rich, cruel, self-absorbed characters. Nighy, who's just as versatile as the women in the cast, is utterly believable as Edmund, a gentleman bibliophile who spends all his time with fictional people so he doesn't have to deal with the disappointment of real ones.

Still, The Bookshop is slow in parts, and the plot is far from the typical underdog story. Were this an American production, the end would no doubt be considerably more upbeat. But this European film (English setting, Spanish director) doesn't offer any pat happily ever afters. Quite the opposite -- there's a surprising sadness that pervades the last third of the movie, as Florence's quest to keep the bookstore begins to seem doomed. This is a low-key story with a simple storyline that proves how petty the rich and powerful and how oppressive small towns can be, but it's worth watching for Mortimer's performance and for the reminder to celebrate independent bookstores in our communities.

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