Movie Review: The Book Club

Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen in The Book Club

In 1974, four women launched their book club by reading Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying.  Forty years later the quartet improbably still meets every month.  Why improbably?  Sharon (Candice Bergen) is a divorced federal judge; Diane (Diane Keaton) is a recently widowed housewife with two adult daughters; Vivian (Jane Fonda) is an intimacy-challenged, single hotel mogel; and Carol (Mary Steenburgen) is a married chef.

In my generation, women with such diverse lifestyles would have more likely drifted apart to form new relationships with people on their own life’s trajectory.  Yet, the plot allows us to see a diverse fabric of life and career experiences.

The ladies spy on Diane (Diane Keaton’s) first date with Mitchell (Andy Garcia).

“Love is just a word until
somebody gives it meaning.”
– The Book Club

When Vivian introduces Fifty Shades of Grey as their next book club selection, the ladies cynically object.  The titillating scenes of each getting hooked on the book are quite funny and clever.  You’ve seen the scene of Sharon getting caught by her law clerk surfing the Bumble dating site in the movie trailer.  Their cynicism gradually morphs into a desire for more adventure and a quest for love.  Sharon connects with George (Richard Dreyfus), who is a tax accountant.  Their first date is sweetly awkward and hilarious.

Diane falls into Mitchell’s lap (Andy Garcia) on a flight to Arizona to see her meddling daughters.  His home in Sedona is awesome.  Vivian runs into her old flame Authur (Don Johnson) in the lobby of her hotel.  And, Carol is sexually frustrated with her 35 year marriage to her retired husband Bruce (Craig T. Nelson).  It is a very funny and clever portrayal of the lives of late-sixties and early-seventies women.  We aren’t dead yet, and most of us still want to have fun.

I left the movie wondering whether it is time for me to put my own cynicism aside and finally open my heart.  There was a joke about a cave that hit home.  The clothes were fabulous, and they connect over copious glasses of wine.  I loved the movie, laughed a lot, and can’t wait for it to come out on DVD on August 7.


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