In her new film, The Bookshop, Emily Mortimer plays the owner of a bookshop in 1959 who scandalises her small Suffolk town by selling copies of a controversial new novel called Lolita. How quaint, you think. How far we’ve come since then. Or have we? Mortimer is not so sure. “Lolita would have a hard time being published today,” she says, sipping a cappuccino in the drawing room of a hotel in central London. “And there’s something wrong about that.”
She’s talking about the climate surrounding the #MeToo movement, whose achievements she relishes, but which she fears has made us lose some of our boldness when it comes to risky material.
“It’s a weird moment that’s both really exciting and wonderful, and also quite confusing. I get scared by the sanctimony sometimes. When everybody thinks they’re right. Life’s not as simple as that. That’s why we need art, movies and books, because they’re exploring the grey areas of life.”