England, 1959. Free-spirited widow Florence Green (Emily Mortimer) risks everything to open a bookshop in a conservative East Anglian coastal town. While bringing about a surprising cultural awakening through works by Ray Bradbury and Vladimir Nabokov, she earns the polite but ruthless opposition of a local grand dame (Patricia Clarkson) and the support and affection of a reclusive book loving widower (Bill Nighy). As Florence's obstacles amass and bear suspicious signs of a local power struggle, she is forced to ask: is there a place for a bookshop in a town that may not want one?
Based on Penelope Fitzgerald's acclaimed novel and directed by Isabel Coixet (Learning to Drive), The Bookshop is an elegant yet incisive rendering of personal resolve, tested in the battle for the soul of a community.
Washington Post/Michael O'Sullivan
Mostly, The Bookshop is a pretext to watch three great actors do their thing: Mortimer, as the film’s mousy but surprisingly formidable heroine; Clarkson, as her smiling adversary, Violet Gamart; and Bill Nighy, as the town’s reclusive loner — and its only voracious reader — Mr. Brundish, who comes to Florence’s aid and advocacy.
Coixet has a lyrical sense of place, and she has made a charming, well-acted adaptation that ably conjures visual pleasure out of the written word...
Hollywood Reporter/Jonathan Holland
Its subversive undercurrent, embodied in fine performances by Emily Mortimer and Bill Nighy, is what makes it really interesting.
Wall Street Journal/John Anderson
As cleanly appointed and precise as Penelope Fitzgerald's prose, "The Bookshop," based on Fitzgerald's 1978 novel, seems very much a fable.
Los Angeles Times/Gary Goldstein
Despite its flaws, the film possesses such a clear passion and advocacy for writing, knowledge and personal expression that it emerges as a largely worthy and poignant accomplishment...
Film Journal International/Simi Horwitz
The Bookshop is an exquisitely understated tragicomedy.