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Movie Review

Kit hasn’t exactly made it in life. While many of her friends and family are pursuing their dreams, Kit’s reeling from her recent rejection from art school. To make matters worse, she has to move back in with her overly positive, overly perfect parents.

Great. Nothing better than being constantly reminded of your failures, she thinks.

After a bout of self-loathing, Kit takes a dead-end job as a temp at an advertising agency. It's the kind of place where everyone seems to be just pushing papers. One night while working late, Kit receives a mysterious invitation to a place called The Store. A place where “we sell what you want. We sell what you need.”

Weird. But … intriguing. So Kit decides to check it out.

When Kit enters The Store, she meets a man called The Salesman. As for what he's selling, well, it's the gift of a lifetime: a unicorn.

That’s right: Kit can have the only thing she ever wanted as a child. That is, if she can prepare a home suitable for the majestic creature.

Positive Elements

Kit grew up as an outcast and never really found her place in life. But as a child, she found imaginary acceptance in her made-up world of unicorns. So when she’s offered the chance to make a home for a real unicorn, Kit obviously takes that offer.

The Salesman tells Kit she must meet three conditions to care for her future unicorn (a creature that “will love you forever” with unconditional love). First, she must create a safe space for the mythical beast to live and thrive. Second, she must keep hatred out of her heart, because unicorns can sense hatred. Finally, she must learn how to love others well.

As for loving others well, Kit isn't really on the same page with her parents. But they love their daughter and try their best to encourage her to grow up and to develop healthy relationships.

Kit inadvertently makes a new friend, Virgil, while attempting to build a home for her unicorn. Virgil is kind, thoughtful, patient and accepting of Kit and all her quirks. He also genuinely likes who she is as a person.

Overall, we see a lot of positive messages in Unicorn Store. We learn the importance of thinking outside the box, pursuing dreams and focusing on the positive. The story also stresses the necessity of finding friends who affirm and accept our best selves.

Another theme is how childhood shapes and forms who we are as adults. Our childhood is important and, while it doesn’t excuse poor adult behavior, it can help us understand why some people struggle in certain areas. The movie raises some important questions about this season of life: What made you happy as a child? What did you lose in childhood? Who did you turn to when there was no one else?

We see flashback-like home movies that show Kit as an imaginative, kind child who was full of zest and creativity. As a young adult, Kit eventually apologizes to those she’s hurt and mends relationships. She also learns to let go of her past hurts and move forward.

Elsewhere, Kit’s parents help traumatized teens via counseling and group activities.

Spiritual Content

Kit compares her belief in unicorns to others’ belief in Jesus: “Who are we to say what’s real or not real in the mind of the believer?” Kit is offered a book full of instructions; the cover features a mysterious, triangular symbol. A “COEXIST” sticker is seen on a fridge. The Salesman tells Kit that unicorns are “sensitive to negative energies.”

Sexual Content

Kit’s boss takes immediate interest in her. He stands too close, flirts, asks her about personal matters and singles her out with his attention and favoritism. Kit eventually realizes that he’s sexually harassing her when other female employees become jealous. She also asks her friend if she’s “pretty enough to be sexually harrassed?”

A teen boy wears makeup, and a teen girl jokes about being pregnant. A woman wears a short skirt, and a model wears a revealing outfit. A man makes a sexist joke. A couple holds hands.

Violent Content

A woman wants to watch an episode of Dateline in which a “professional single woman gets murdered.” Another woman asks a mysterious man if he plans on murdering her. Someone jokingly says his employer wishes him dead and, later, confesses that his own parents are dead. A troubled teen confesses dark fantasies about murdering a teacher.

Crude or Profane Language

God’s name is misused nearly 10 times while Jesus’ name is misused once. The s-word is heard about 10 times as well. “H---” and “d--mit” are each used once or twice. An arrogant professor is called an “idiot.”

Drug and Alcohol Content

Kit drinks a glass of wine at dinner and, later, takes the entire bottle to her room where it sits on the floor. A counselor shares about a young girl who lost her father to a drug overdose.

Other Negative Elements

Kit has a tricky relationship with her parents. While she knows they love her, she clearly feels that she's never measured up to their standards. After she fails out of art school, she believes herself to be deeply unloved and an overall dissapointment. She spends a few days depressed, lying on the couch in the dark and crying.

Kit gradually moves on from her depressed state, but she still can’t seem to move past her own insecurities. She can be selfish, oblivious and lash out at others in anger. Kit and her parents argue, and her parents believe they've failed their daughter.

Two women joke about attending a wild party. Two parents refer to a group of kids as “gangster children.” Two girls lie about their emotional state at a counseling session. A man says that his parents love their dog more than him.


Actress Brie Larson's directorial debut in this streaming Netflix movie is hard to pin down.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, she said of Unicorn Store: "I feel like this film is like an abstract self-portrait of myself. … It's totally a metaphorical journey of not only my experience of being an actor and learning how to be true to myself in the face of people telling me no or that I was wrong or telling me to change, but it was also directly my experience directing this film."

Filled with whimsical characters, creatures and ideas, this film is steeped in metaphor. Unicorn Store highlights lessons about self-love and personal growth, as well as pursuing your dreams with passion and persistence.

But there are also some awkward, strange moments that made me feel that Larson’s first movie didn’t quite hit the mark. As the main character, she is naive, immature and often hard to like.

And although this is a journey about self-acceptance and healing wounds from childhood, it also felt like her naivety was given a pass. There was also a surprising amount of language for a PG-rated film.

So despite Unicorn Store's magical, mostly positive story, I felt oddly conflicted about it as the credits rolled. I believe it’s best to say that if you watch this movie, you will have moments where you get it, and others where you won’t. Moments where you connect with the movie's redemptive themes, and moments that seem jarringly out-of-sync with this flick's otherwise family-friendly vibe.

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Brie Larson as Kit; Samuel L. Jackson as The Salesman; Joan Cusack as Gladys; Bradley Whitford as Gene; Mamoudou Athie as Virgil; Hamish Linklater as Gary; Martha MacIsaac as Sabrina; Karan Soni as Kevin; Annaleigh Ashford as Crystal; Ryan Hansen as Brock; Mary Holland as Joanie


Brie Larson ( )





Record Label



In Theaters

April 5, 2019

On Video

April 5, 2019

Year Published



Kristin Smith

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We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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