Hello, Bookstore (2023) – Film Review

Hello, Bookstore (2023) – Film Review main

By Roger Crow

Matt Tanenbaum may as well be called George Bailey as the undercurrent of It’s A Wonderful Life runs throughout Hello, Bookstore.

This charming, beautifully crafted documentary is the story of one man’s love affair with books, and his Massachusetts book shop.

How he copes with the pandemic and keeping the place running while the wolves are at the door is the necessary tension this documentary needs to sustain the attention. When the town rallies round to save the beloved establishment, it’s hard not to be reminded of Bailey, and that sucker punch moment at the end of Frank Capra’s most beloved movie.

And at one point, if the doc was turned into a movie, Harold Ramis would have played Matt, but as he left us far too early, Tom Hanks can play the part. I’d be amazed if Hollywood wasn’t already circling Matt’s story for a feelgood dramedy.

Clocking in at under 90 minutes, Hello, Bookstore is the perfect length for the subject matter, but also left me hungry for more.

Hello, Bookstore (2023) – Film Review

“Expertly assembled”

Okay, the soundtrack, with its folksy guitar chords gets on the nerves after a while. It’s not bad. In fact for the most part it’s hugely agreeable. There’s just a bit too much of it.

The Mighty Tanenbaum, as Wes Anderson might have called it, is a warm hug of a film; a bowl of hot soup on an autumnal day, and a reminder to all book lovers that such indie shops are more precious than ever. Which is a little hypocritical of me as yes, I use online stores as much as the next guy, partly because I live in the middle of nowhere, and partly because of the ease. But show me an indie bookshop and an amiable owner, and I’m in my element. Throw in a coffee shop within said shop, and even better.

Hello, Bookstore, like Romantic Road, Claydream, and Marionette Land, is another of those expertly assembled documentaries that lingers with you long after the closing credits have rolled.

Excuse me while I raise a cuppa to Matt, his family, friends and director AB Zax for one of the best docs of the year. Track it down and enjoy.

Subject Matter8
Hello, Bookstore is on demand now

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