A.J. Fikry: Hollywood Comes to Cape Cod


Photo by Riley Croteau

A picture taken during filming at Parnassus, a bookstore in Yarmouth Port where the majority of filming took place.

Evan Fishback, Staff Writer

It isn’t everyday that you put on a movie and it opens with a woman walking by Hyannis Harbor on her way to get on a Hy-Line ferry. On October 7, the Cape Cinema played “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” for the first time. The movie is based on a 2014 novel that shares the same name. It follows a bookstore owner who lives on the fictional Alice Island and follows him throughout his life.

What makes this film special is that it was shot entirely on Cape Cod over a 20-day span last winter. The film contains stars such as Lucy Hale from “Pretty Little Liars” and Kunal Nayyar, best known for his role as Rajesh Koothrappali in “The Big Bang Theory.” Nayyar stars as Fikry and Hale as his love interest, Amelia.

While it was fun to see such beloved local places like the British Beer Company as a place for characters to grab a drink and catch up, the Hyannis Library converted into the Alice Island police station, as well as Sea Street beach and Main Street turned into scenic jogging spots.

The plot is often hard to decipher and time constantly jumps around with no real explanation of why or how we ended up where we did. I found myself constantly lost with what time frame each scene was in. We go forward 14 months, then seven years, then back to the beginning, and then back to the present, then ahead another few years. The film felt like a big intertwined mess.

There are so many different individual stories that are developed within the movie that seemed jammed in at random. The focus is first on Fikry and Amelia, but then Ismay just can’t stand her husband anymore or rather Officer Lambiase is following her around, so we’ll cut away for five minutes and then go right back like nothing happened. It gives the movie a choppy, disconnected feel, making it hard to digest at times.

The drawbacks hurt the film, but it still does a good job of getting its point across. When the movie needs to be sad it is well done and the message is certainly received. The audience can still definitely feel what the film is trying to get across emotionally, but comprehension of each scene is difficult to say the least. 

I can’t say that I recommend this movie to anyone, unless it comes out on a streaming service at some point. In that case I’d say give it a shot; it isn’t every day that you get to see a movie filmed entirely on Cape Cod and that certainly is something special.