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Film / Unicorn Store

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Everyone needs a little magic.
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Kit is a little bit obsessed with unicorns, and has been her whole life. When her career as an aspiring artist hits a roadblock when she flunks out of art school, she ends up moving back in with her parents and taking up a temp job at an advertising agency. Surrounded by people who don't understand her, she unexpectedly receives an invitation from The Salesman who promises her a real Unicorn, but only if she proves she is capable of properly caring for it by accomplishing some prerequisite tasks...

Starring Brie Larson as Kit and Samuel L. Jackson as The Salesman. Brie Larson's directorial debut.

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Unicorn Store contains examples of the following tropes:

  • All Girls Like Ponies: In hopes of preventing people from thinking she's crazy, Kit claims she's building a stable for a pony, rather than a unicorn. Nobody points out that she lacks the means to acquire and care for even such a relatively mundane creature, but they seem puzzled by it nonetheless.
  • Bad Boss: Gary. He's not shown to be mean to his employees, but he is bland, uninspired, and openly gives Kit preferential treatment because he's attracted to her. But when Kit makes a bold (if poorly considered) sales pitch to him and the other company bosses, he leaves her hanging without any support.
  • Character Development:
    • Kit learns to think more about what others want and need, and realizes that at least some of her problems have been due to her being too selfish to try and meet anyone halfway, not to mention how her behavior can be hurtful to her loved ones.
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    • Virgil goes from being an undermotivated store stocker to the assistant manager of a hardware store thanks to the skills he learns while helping Kit with her stable project.
  • Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: Kit is reduced to working at a temp agency because she is too proud to take a job working for her parents and doesn't want to take the time to find a better job.
  • Handy Man: Kit wants to hire Virgil to help her build a stable because he works in a hardware store. He points out that it's actually sexist to assume he can perform such tasks because he's a guy, and that his job mostly amounts to doing inventory. They end up learning as they go (at one point watching tutorial videos on their phones), and he graduates into this trope by the end of the film.
  • It Was Here, I Swear!: Virgil is convinced that Kit is being scammed, or worse, so she takes him to The Store to show him. They find an entirely empty showroom. The Salesman later explains that it is because The Store was for Kit, not Virgil.
  • Kick the Dog: Kit flunks out of art school & moves back home, only to find that her parents have moved her into the basement & turned her old room into a gym - even worse, the repainted room was so poorly done that Kit’s art work is still visible in places.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The "Truth Circle" involves folks on the EmotionQuest outings talking about their problems. Many of the kids make up outlandish tales to mess with the gullible counselors (Kit's parents). When Kit confronts her parents about this, they let her know that they know the kids are lying, because the whole point of EmotionQuest is for the kids to have a safe place away from their problems, as many are dealing with some pretty bad life situations.
  • Office Lady: As a temp worker, Kit's job is something between this and The Intern. Her official duties mostly consist of properly operating a copy machine. Sabrina states that Kit's ability to do this without training means she might be overqualified for the job.
  • Only Sane Man: Virgil, who Kit hires to help her build a stable for her unicorn, and who is increasingly distressed by Kit's situation the more he learns about it. Subverted later on, when Kit's Overly Embarassing Parents make it clear to her that they're not the clueless Bourgeois Bohemians she has been treating them as, and are in fact quite concerned and hurt about her recent behavior as well.
  • The Pollyanna: Kit, albeit she spends much of the film struggling to maintain this attitude.
  • Secret Test of Character: It is implied by the end that the Store isn't so much about getting the customer what they most want, but rather about getting the customer to become the sort of person who deserves what they wanted.
  • Sleeping Their Way to the Top: Kit's coworkers accuse her of this, but she at least initially seems oblivious that Gary is trying to woo her with workplace favors.
  • Unicorn: Kit is obsessed with them, and is working to prove to The Salesman that she can take care of a unicorn if he provides her with one.
  • Wham Line: Mainly because it shows both that Kit's not as oblivious as she seems, and that she trusts Virgil enough to open up to him:
    Kit: Do you think I'm attractive enough to be sexually harassed?
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Kit eventually gets this from Virgil, her parents, and even The Salesman, who all variously call out her behavior as reckless, naive, and even selfish.
  • Your Television Hates You: After Kit flunks out of art school, she's sitting on the couch watching TV while a series of very pointed commercials play, including one for her parents' EmotionQuest adventure-therapy service, and a temp agency marketing itself as ideal for people who are failures or lack useful job skills. Also a commercial for medication meant to treat menstrual pain, which for some reason uses a male football player as the spokesperson.
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