‘THE STORIED LIFE OF A.J. FIKRY’: BITTERSWEET AND DISTANT DRAMA

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A film based on the novel of the same name, this is one of those kind of weird, kind of sweet plus something else movies. It has potential, but I don’t think it ever quite reaches it. the storied life of a.j. fikry

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (2022) Film Review

Amelia (Lucy Hale) or Amy as her friends call her, has a romantic but still practical view of life. She knows loss but is eager to jump into her new sales rep job at Knightley publishing. This means she has to convince booksellers to stock their books, and she has a favorite she wants them to know about. Her stop today is the long trek out to Alice Island where she speaks with the bookstore owner A.J. Fikry (Kunal Nayyar). Grumpy and a non conversationalist, A.J. has little to say to Amelia and she leaves without much progress.

Everything changes when A.J., despite his past loss and defeatist lifestyle, becomes responsible for someone else overnight. This causes him to shift perspective, in a change that could alter everything…

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This is something I read about a long time ago. Maybe earlier last year when I was looking into movies being adapted. I cannot remember when, but it was something that caught my eye enough to wonder if I should read the book. I never did of course, but in the aftermath of seeing the film, I’m both glad and disappointed I didn’t. I’m glad because had I, I likely wouldn’t have watched this. And on that same side on the coin, I am convinced that reading the novel would have allowed me to feel more for these characters. the storied life of a.j. fikry

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This film is a combination of comedy and bittersweet. But something holds back whatever it is in a good story that elicits emotion from the viewer. It’s not that I don’t like these characters. I do, grumpy quirks and all. It’s certainly not that I want anything bad to happen to or for them. Yet nonetheless, I just don’t feel that pull to invest in them which then means the emotion isn’t there when the upheaval calls for it. Reading about the book suggests that we feel more for the characters, and while many would say this is always true, I think the right production can elicit just as much emotion as the best kind of book.

A large time span is used to tell The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, and I think this too can be part of why I never really connect. The setting is, of course, fun being in a bookstore and the cast which also includes Christina Hendricks, David Arquette and Scott Foley, is impressive too. There’s just one too many things about this that doesn’t quite work to draw a viewer in. There’s charm and potential, but this doesn’t make the two hour film work. If you’re unfamiliar with the story, it is bittersweet, and in this way, I can appreciate that I never fully invest in the story since it’s “easier” to watch this unfold. If you like arthouse kind of films, you may enjoy this drama.

It’s certainly the same, and different than what I expected.

You can stream The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, at publication, with Hulu.

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📚‘THE STORIED LIFE OF A.J. FIKRY’: BITTERSWEET AND DISTANT DRAMA 📚 Review of the 2022 adaptation drama with Lucy Hale. All text is © Rissi JC

Content: there’s discussion of affairs and a man goes on first dates with two different women that leads back to the bedroom. We see them both in bed together afterwards. A man drinks too much. There’s some thematic content like emotional upheaval, too. The film is PG-13.

Photos: Vertical Entertainment

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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