Love is generally lovelier when it comes from a place you really don’t expect….
Based on the New York Times Best Seller of the same name, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is a trip down a rabbit hole that reminds us of the importance of being open to love in an increasingly cold and disconnected world, even when it comes from somewhere you’d never really expect.
Bookstore owner A.J. Fikry’s (Kunal Nayyar) life is not turning out as he expected as he struggles both emotionally and financially. After his wife’s tragic death, he feels lost and left behind in the rapidly evolving world of today. As he tries to keep his store afloat, he begins to drink his sorrows away ultimately hitting rock bottom when his most prized possession, a series of Edgar Allen Poe poems, are stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, the unexpected arrival gives Fikry a new lease on life, and love, that are greater than he ever imagined.
While this light affair won’t be reinventing the cinematic wheel anytime soon, there’s a genuine charm to The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry that is genuinely hard to ignore.
This movie is just NICE; and while it occasionally gets a little wrapped up in its own very thick dialogue taking us to moments in these characters lives it never sheds the idea that people generally just want happiness; either with someone to share it all with or the simple comforts of a good book on a cold winter’s night.
Director Hans Canosa and Writer Gabrielle Zevin have seemingly worked together exclusively throughout their career which does allow for an ease and almost cinematic short hand that takes place in the film which lets us get quickly invested in the characters. That being said it also doesn’t let the moments of these characters lives really sit with us as we’re rapid fire on to something else.
Obviously, adapting books for the screen is never an easy process but it did feel like that in order to be able to tell The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry a few too many things from the book may have been left off the screen.
Thankfully though stars Kunal Nayyar and Lucy Hale both have charm and on screen chemistry for days that allows us to get connected to these people on an emotional level that isn’t often seen in films like this.
There’s genuine care from these actors to allow these characters that they are playing to come across as genuine and real, rather than just being generic beats in a love story. When actors get to play human beings rather than just being tools of plot points it goes a long way into making something, no matter how flawed, into something genuine and truly emotionally engaging.
At the end of the day that’s where the strength of The Storied Life of A.J. Firky lies. This is a story that allows the genuinely flawed nature of humanity and our need to be loved to shine through.
Also, why don’t you check out our interview with stars Kunal Nayyar and Lucy Hale right here….