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October 2017

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"Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium" (2007)

This is a wonderful movie.

Dustin Hoffman plays Mr. Edward Magorium, the 243-year-old owner of the Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium. He hires an accountant, Henry Weston (played by Jason Bateman), to get his business in order before he "leaves", by which he means "dies". There does not appear to be anything wrong with him, as he explains to Henry he purchased enough shoes to last his whole life and he has reached his last pair. It doesn't really matter why he is dying, everyone dies eventually. His apprentice and store manager Molly Mahoney (played Natalie Portman) does not take the news well. She doesn't want him to go, which is perfectly natural. But doesn't change the fact that he is going. The store itself also doesn't want him to leave and starts turning gray and moping whenever he mentions it.

Henry, the accountant, looks like a very boring sort of person who can't see the magic around him and (by his own admission) never stops working. But he is not as boring as he seems. He got the job because his answer to one of Mr Magorium's interview questions was "Anything can happen" and he never complains or asks why when everyone calls "Mutant" instead of by his name. They call him Mutant because Mr Magorium thinks an "accountant" is "a cross between a counter and a mutant".

Molly Mahoney was a child piano prodigy who has never been able to finish her first concerto but practices it constantly on any surface. Her learning to manifest her potential felt like a B plot to me. Henry David Thoreau once wrote "When it is time to die, let us not discover that we never lived". Mr Magorium dies because has reached the end of his life. Molly has not yet started to live. The movie is first about him, then about her.

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