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“Book Club” a Good Laugh for Older Folks





Review By John Delia, Sr.

Sitting through the movie Book Club was a bit tiring, but not being the target audience of women 55+ played a role for sure. That said, for the ladies this funny little ditty plays well, especially if you have gone through several stages such as becoming an empty nester, past menopause, are retired, or are forging ahead in life without the male companion you once had. For this group, it’s a stitch!

For those who are still sticking with this movie review, let me set the scene. Four women who have been best friends since college have turned a corner in life. Vivian (Jane Fonda) has built herself an empire after being jilted by Arthur (Don Johnson) some forty years ago and the girls have been her crutch. Divorced for a long time Sharon (Candice Bergen) gets along with enjoying her career as a Federal Judge. Diane (Diane Keaton) is still recovering from the loss of her husband two years ago and has found her grown and married children are hovering over her. Then there’s Carol (Mary Steenburgen) who enjoys being with the girls for a Book Club get together because of her humdrum marriage to Bruce (Craig T. Nelson).

(L-R) Candice Bergen, Diane Keaton in the film, BOOK CLUB, by Paramount Pictures

At each of the meetings one of the girls chooses the book they are going to read for the month and its Vivian’s turn. Handing out the books she surprises her friends with “Fifty Shade of Gray” challenging their imagination with kinky sex. With a lot of OMG’s and other comments, the conversation turns to sex and what each has been doing about it? When the women realize their situations have lost a lot of what they have been missing, they try to bring a little romance back into their lives.

First time director and writer of Book Club Bill Holderman does his best to keep the high profile Oscar winners and an Oscar nominee from stealing each other’s scenes. While he does control Bergen and Steenburgen, Keaton and Fonda move in to steal the show. He does however give equal time to the actresses, each showing a personality that has been missed in roles like Book Club.

(L-R) Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen in the film, BOOK CLUB, by Paramount Pictures

When you are working with Diane Keaton (Oscar winner for Annie Hall) how do you not have the camera on her? Even in the latter part of normal life she nails her role of a woman who has lost her companion just a year ago and finds herself getting depressed. Being pressured to move from her home to Arizona with her daughters, her best friends have doubts that will work at all. Keaton’s Diane goes from disheartened to resign before gaining the trigger needed for companionship.

Diane Keaton in the film, BOOK CLUB, by Paramount Pictures

Mary Steenburgen also won an Oscar (Melvin and Howard in 1980) and takes on the role of Carol with aplomb. Her husband Bruce has been AWOL in the sex department and thinks more about his old motorbike. Much like many men who have become complacent at his age, Bruce shows the downside of long marriages. Now wanting to change her relationship, Carol starts to search for something that will make their grounded sexual life fly.

Book Club has been rated PG-13 for sex related material throughout and for language. Be cautious when deciding to allow immature children see the film as it does have some scenes that are inappropriate for youngsters.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A good thoughtful comedy that speaks volumes about marriages in the twilight of life. (2.5 out of 5 Stars)

Additional Film Information
Cast: Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson with Andy Garcia and Don Johnson
Directed and co-written by: Bill Holderman
Genre: Comedy, Romance
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sex related material throughout and for language
Running Time: 1 hr. 44 min.
Release Date:  May 18, 2018
Distributed By: Paramount Pictures

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