Directed by: Bill Holderman
Run Time: 1 hour 44 minutes
I can’t think of anything better for a gal to do socially than join a book club. My first book club began when I lived in Washington DC and leaving that group when I moved to Charlotte was really hard. Luckily, I found an equally fantastic group of ladies in my current book club and we’ve been getting together every month for almost 10 years! I love being challenged to read different genres about subjects I might not have otherwise chosen. We’ve even done some amazing road trips together including one hilariously challenging overnight hiking trip last month that we all surprisingly survived. So of course we had to go together to see the new film Book Club!
Book Club introduces us to four best friends who have been meeting together for over 40 years to enjoy scintillating literary conversations (along with several glasses of wine) each month. We quickly get a rundown of each character along with fun flashback photos of the mega-watt stars portraying them. Diane (Diane Keaton) is adjusting to life as a widower as her husband passed away a year ago. Her two over-protective daughters (Alicia Silverstone and Katie Aselton) worry about their mom living alone and are pressuring her to move out of state to live with them. Vivian (Jane Fonda) is a successful hotelier who never settled down after rejecting Arthur (Don Johnson) who was her Mr. Right. Instead, she’s spent her years dating around and avoiding serious attachments. Sharon (Candice Bergen) is a well regarded federal judge who hasn’t quite moved on in her personal life since her divorce many years ago. Last but not least is Carol (Mary Steenburgen), a chef who is concerned that the spark may have left her otherwise happy marriage since her husband Bruce (Craig T. Nelson) retired.
Things get a little crazy for this reserved bunch when Vivian decides to select “50 Shades of Grey” as their latest novel. Initially mortified at the idea of reading the trashy trilogy, the ladies reluctantly agree to give Mr. Grey a shot. Before you can say “red room”, the ladies quickly shift their attitudes about looking for love at this point in their lives. Diane has a “meet cute” encounter with handsome pilot Mitchell (Andy Garcia). Vivian runs into old flame Arthur and begins to rekindle their romance. Sharon decides to try her luck on a dating website with mixed but comedic results and Carol tries to fire up some romance with her hubby using all sorts of interesting ploys to seduce him.
Watching these legendary actresses living it up on the big screen together is definitely a treat. I’m thrilled to see mature women being portrayed as vibrant, fascinating and successful characters—something that is long overdue. The story is meant to be lighthearted and fun, but there’s also a thoughtful message about how older women are perceived and treated by society. It’s certainly noteworthy that none of the women look or act their actual age—especially Fonda. While there are some genuinely funny scenes and clever quips throughout, there are also some cringeworthy puns and more ridiculously over the top double entendres than you can shake a stick (or whip!) at. Still, what exactly do you expect when you watch a movie about ladies reading 50 Shades of Grey???
One piece of advice? Don’t assume just because the cast is older that it’s a good film to take your mom to. While the jokes are relatively tame, there’s still no escaping the fact that there’s a LOT of talk about sex! Otherwise, sit back, relax and enjoy watching these fabulous well-over-forty stars shine in this silly and sometimes ridiculous film.