Unicorn Store is one of those movies that’s been hanging around in limbo for a couple years but is now being released by Netflix. Brie Larson – who makes her directorial debut with the film – stars as Kit, a young woman who has always had trouble fitting in, driven more by her unique perspective on the world than those around her and unable to let go of the dreams that inspired her as a small child.
Struggling as an artist, Kit is one day presented with an invitation to the vaguely-named The Store, where she meets The Salesman (Samuel L. Jackson). He offers her the chance to finally achieve to achieve the fame she’s longed for, but only if she proves she’s capable of taking care of an actual unicorn, the dream she’s had since childhood.
Kit is shown in full childlike artist mode on the one sheet, her face and clothes covered in colorful paint as she leans back on a grassy lawn. “Everyone needs a little magic. Even if they’re a grown up” is the copy at the top. All the elements combine to send a strong whimsical message, presenting Kit as someone who refuses to fully adult because she sees the world a bit differently and is driven by her own muse, not anyone else’s expectations.
The kind of conformist environment Kit is operating in is presented in the first seconds of the trailer, showing her competing in an artistic competition where everyone else has produced serious, stark works while she has painted a whole rainbow of abstract colors. That unconventional approach is marked poorly, showing us how no one else understands her vision. Kicked out of art school, she moves back with her parents and takes a bland office job until she receives an invitation to visit The Store. That leads her down a path that promises to make all her dreams come true, getting her parents off her back and finally letting her be what she wants in her heart to be.
Online and Social
Nothing official here.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
No ads have crossed my radar, but it’s likely there will be some in the weeks following release.
Media and Publicity
One of the first bits of press for the movie was a huge profile of Larson where she talked about the responsibility of taking on her first directing gig, the evolution her career and much more. Notably, the movie was taken on as the first project from a new production company founded with the goal of increasing inclusion in films.
At the same time it was announced the movie would debut at the Toronto International Film Festival Larson talked about just how nerve-wracking that was, how she got involved in the story and more. She was also interviewed about how she used short films to fill in the gaps and take control over her career, how she cast the various parts and the creativity she hoped it would inspire in others.
Things went quiet for a long time – nearly two years – until just this past February when it was announced Netflix had picked up this movie as well as a future project for Larson to star in and likely direct. It was quickly given an April release date.
The movie was mentioned briefly in a profile of Larson that was part of the press push for Captain Marvel.
That was about it, though, as the actor/director just recently came off the tour for that much bigger movie and there wasn’t a whole lot of room for another major publicity effort.
It’s a bit surprising there wasn’t more of an effort made in the publicity department, despite it being just weeks since Larson was everyone promoting Captain Marvel. This is her directorial debut, after all. Perhaps it’s the trade off necessary for striking while the iron is hot, accepting the limited press coverage in exchange for being able to tout the actress having a new film available on Netflix within weeks of that bigger movie hitting theaters.
Whatever the reason, Netflix’s limited campaign is filled with colorful whimsy, selling the film as a story of wish fulfillment and the rewards of being true to yourself, not fitting in the box society would like you to. That’s not a bad message to send, it just remains to be seen if it’s the kind of thing that can be sustained through an entire movie. Larson, who has charm to spare, though, may just be the one to pull it off.
Picking Up the Spare
Larson shared her magical thinking in a video from Netflix.