Hang a CLOSED sign in the window: it’s another film with a strong female character that’s cushioned in the safety and comfort of the recent past. Were writer/director Isabel Coixet up for a challenge, she would have fashioned a film about a feminist trying to keep a brick and mortar bookshop solvent in the era of Amazon, and not gone in for the polite poppycock spoken in hushed tones that’s offered up here. Foreshadowing, anyone? If in Act One a character loudly proclaims, “See that button? Don’t push it!” the chances are very good that you already know how and at what point a film is going to end. Yeah, the acting is great, but film is a director’s medium. Not for a moment does Coixet take control of the reins. And if ever there was a case of the end crucifying the means, this is it. One ray of brilliance shines through the primness: cinematographer Jean-Claude Larrieu got the color right. Emily Mortimer, Bill Nighy, and Patricia Clarkson star. (20187) — Scott Marks
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