The Bookshop | Chicago Reader
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The Bookshop

Writer-director Isabel Coixet adapts Penelope Fitzgerald's tragicomic novel set in East Anglia in 1959, when Britain was emerging from wartime austerity but was slow to shed hidebound attitudes about class and a woman's place. The ever-winsome Emily Mortimer glows as a struggling widow who opens a bookstore in her insular coastal town, unaware that this affront to the established order will subject her to unrelenting jealousy and malice. Bill Nighy plays the solitary bibliophile who recognizes in her a kindred spirit; Patricia Clarkson is the wealthy social doyenne intent on her destruction. Coixet relays the novel's psychological acuity, yet her film is marred by Julie Christie's plodding narration, an intrusive score, and Clarkson, so memorable in the director's previous movies Elegy and Learning to Drive, but here needing to flex more of the steel behind the silk brocade.



  • Isabel Coixet


  • Emily Mortimer
  • Bill Nighy
  • Patricia Clarkson
  • Hunter Tremayne
  • Honor Kneafsey
  • James Lance
  • Jorge Suquet
  • Frances Barber


  • Jaume Banacolocha
  • Joan Bas
  • Adolfo Blanco
  • Chris Curling
  • Manuel Monzón
  • Paz Recolons
  • Fernando Riera

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