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TIFF 2017: Brie Larson Brings Directorial Debut to Toronto


Brie Larson at the world premiere of The Unicorn Store - TIFF
  • TIFF
  • Brie Larson at the world premiere of The Unicorn Store
Brie Larson is one of the few people in Hollywood who gladly suffers fools. As Larson worked the red carpet prior to the world premiere of her directorial debut,The Unicorn Store,  entertainment reporters gushed, telling Larson she's "amazing," "absolutely the greatest" or "the best actress since (fill in the blank)." The Oscar-winner smiled graciously and replied, "Oh no. That's nice of you to say but that's just not true. I'm just out here trying my best, but I've got a long way to go. I mean, look at me, I'm standing here in a pretty dress that I don't own, and people are saying all these nice things and they haven't even seen my movie yet. It is what it is."

Larson smiled at the tongue-tied reporters and strolled over to the few hundred fans who had patiently waited for more than an hour just to say hi. Larson spent about twice as much time with fans as she did with the press, and she didn't turn down one request for an autograph or a selfie.

"Now, this is worth the trip to Toronto," Larson said.

Two Septembers ago, the little-known Larson came to Toronto to debut a movie called Room, which would go on to win her a much-deserved Best Actress Oscar. Today, she's one of the hottest actors in Hollywood and is poised to star in the next big Marvel Studio franchise, Captain Marvel, set for 2019. For now, it's all about unicorns and the dream project Larson directed and co-wrote with Samantha McIntyre.

The Unicorn Store opens with scenes from home movies, depicting a little girl who, over the years, gets a unicorn birthday cake, has unicorns painted on her face, watches unicorn cartoons and opens unicorn toys under a succession of Christmas trees. Fast forward 27 years and the little girl is grown up, but she's sleeping on her parents' couch, watching unicorn cartoons and subsisting on a diet of Pop Tarts, Cheez-Its and drinking full glasses of wine in one long gulp. This is Kit, the big dreamer at the center of The Unicorn Store.

Brie Larson directed and starred in The Unicorn Store. - TIFF
  • TIFF
  • Brie Larson directed and starred in The Unicorn Store.
One day, Kit receives an odd invitation to an address where she meets a strange, pink-suited shopkeeper who asks, "Don't you want to hug the shit out of a unicorn?"

Such a line could only be delivered with necessary verve by Samuel L. Jackson, who plays the man in the pink suited. What follows is Kit's quest to get a real-live unicorn from the shopkeeper.

The primary motivation of The Unicorn Store is to be charming, a rare commodity in the 21st century. This film won't change the world, and it's far from the best movie of the year, but I was absolutely charmed by this slightest of fairy tales. Who doesn't want a little charm?