The lean-faced man picks up the telephone and solutions it with a cheery, “Hello, Bookstore!”

His identify is Matt Tannenbaum, and he’s the only real proprietor of The Bookstore in Lennox, Mass., a job he’s held for 45 years.

With related avuncular appeal he talks about how he got here to take over the store, his love of studying and humorous little anecdotes in regards to the individuals he meets.

Then the pandemic hits.

The Bookstore, nonetheless recovering from the shocks that Amazon and Kindle have wrought on different literary retailers, should metal itself in opposition to even larger blows.

“Hello, Bookstore” shouldn’t be a fantastic movie neither is it a revelatory documentary. It is, nonetheless, an satisfying diversion, very similar to a cease at such a bookshop whereas on a protracted cross-country journey. It definitely jogged my memory of many such visits to bookstores everywhere in the Eastern halves of Canada and the United States.

Our father instructed us, “there’s always time for books” and made positive we stayed stocked with them, each at dwelling and on the highway.

As a consequence, I can’t enter a used bookstore with out getting a nostalgic feeling, sending me again to the higher bunk of the household RV, on a seashore or excessive atop the rocks close to our campsite, having fun with no matter paperback I had simply bought.

Loads of these feelings got here dashing again whereas watching the movie. No doubt many viewers could have the identical response.

The movie not often goes exterior the bookstore itself, and even after we do, we don’t get a really feel for the encircling neighborhood. All the identical, an unmistakable sense of group comes by means of.

Tannenbaum loves his books but additionally loves the individuals who are available in, and the sensation is reciprocated by his clients. Even in the course of the peak of Covid, he retains his spirits up taking orders over the telephone, persevering with the identical tones of folksy heat.

The film is in the end much less about how bookstores or different small companies struggled in the course of the pandemic than a profile of a warm-hearted man who maintained his composure throughout a interval of nice stress.

There is, sadly, a flaw with “Hello, Bookstore” that will impede some viewer’s enjoyment. Even granted that The Bookstore is situated in one of many bluest elements of the bluest state of the bluest area of the nation, the film goes out of its method to remind us of this.

The digital camera lingers lovingly over books by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jason Stanley, and even a row of Ruth Bader Ginsburg youngsters’s books. Director A. B. Zax incessantly balances the body with a Bernie Sanders window signal, and does it so many instances it turns into comical.

Most annoying is the best way just a few photographs concentrate on a roll of Donald Trump rest room paper subsequent to the door, which is as vulgar and infantile as the previous President himself.


There isn’t any level to any of those photographs aside from smug advantage signaling to like-minded viewers. Some of them are even within the movie’s trailer, sending an unmistakable exclusionary message that goes in opposition to The Bookstore’s mission and contradicts the broader themes of group and openness the movie tries to convey.

If you don’t share our politics, then don’t go to our retailer, and whereas we’re at it, don’t watch our film, both. Republicans learn books too.

They additionally watch films.

A.A. Kidd is a sessional college teacher in Canada who proudly volunteers for the Windsor International Film Festival. He appreciates traditional films, exhausting science fiction and dangerous puns.

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