Making the Grades
Sandwiched between steel and concrete office towers is an ornate, enchanted little shop known as Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. Inside, the store is literally alive with magical toys and mysterious rooms full of trains, bouncing balls and other interactive playthings.
The business is run by Mr. Magorium (Dustin Hoffman), an eccentric, wildly-coiffed senior who lives in an upstairs' apartment with a pet zebra. Under this proprietor's watchful eye the merchandise wakes up every morning to the ring of the cash register. The shop is a bright spot not only for neighborhood families but also for a shy, young boy (Zach Mills) who spends his extra time working behind the counter.
But after living nearly 243 years, Mr. Magorium is ready to move to the next dimension. He plans to bequeath the shop to his young manager, Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman). The promising pianist has worked in the store for years but suffers from a seemingly unconquerable distrust of her own talents. Overwhelmed by the generous offer and insecure about her abilities to generate the lively atmosphere of the store, she anxiously frets about a future without her peculiar mentor.
Before going, however, Mr. Magorium hires an accountant to put in order centuries of receipts and sort out his affairs. Armed with a briefcase, Henry Weston (Jason Bateman) arrives at the storefront on a busy afternoon without an ounce of humor in his bones. He is even more somber when he finds the stacks and stacks of paperwork packed in the backroom office. Hunkering down to root through the dusty old papers, he's unresponsive to Molly's jokes and is oblivious to the enchantment happening all around him.
While this story is full of kites, finger paint and animated toys, the script, more than engaging kids, may speak to adults who've shelved their youthful dreams. The gentle pace of the movie may also lose viewers used to nerve-jarring cartoons or rapid-fire video games. Still, for those willing to settle in for a quiet but engaging thinker, the Emporium offers playful advice on rekindling a childlike enthusiasm for life and believing in the possibilities within every person.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.
In what ways do adults lose their childhood dreams? How does Mr. Magorium remain engaged in life? How does his attitude toward life affect his attitude toward death?
What significance does the block of wood have? How can others help us achieve the greatness within?
What value does playing have in the lives of children and adults?