After failing out of art college, Kit (Brie Larson) has returned home to live with her parents, Gladys (Joan Cusack) and Gene (Bradley Whitford). She’s depressed and aimless, despite the fact that she and everything she owns is spangled with glitter, rainbows and unicorns. Kit feels like a disappointment to her parents and that no one really understands her art.
Then she starts receiving mysterious invitations that lead her to a store. Here the Salesman (Samuel L. Jackson) tells her that he has what she has always wanted – a unicorn – but she’ll first have to prove that she’s a worthy owner. This sets the wheels in motion for Kit to start proving to herself and others that she can follow through on something.
So I can see what Larson was trying to do with this film. The unicorn is a metaphor for following your passion and Kit deciding to go through the stages to prove that she can care for her unicorn demonstrates how having a purpose can turn your life around.
Unfortunately it doesn’t really work. Rather than being charming, Kit’s naivety comes across as annoying. I just wanted her to realise that life can be a balance between unicorns and responsibility. It doesn’t have to be one or the other and expecting everyone else to sort out your life is ridiculously entitled. I also couldn’t understand how she couldn’t see through her creepy boss, Gary (Hamish Linklater).
What I did like was Kit’s relationship with Virgil (Mamoudou Althie), the hardware store worker she talks into building her a stable. Kit brings joy and frivolity into Virgil’s life, which brings him out of his shell. He seems to genuinely care about Kit and her wellbeing and their chemistry is lovely. Through Virgil Kit realises that she can connect to others and doesn’t have to change who she is.
Overall it is watchable but definitely only once and if you never got around to it, you probably wouldn’t be missing much.