Book Club (M)

In a Word: Golden

"Book Club is an optimistic portrayal of love that shies away from any truly biting satire or the harsher realities of aging. This light-hearted film relies instead on the sheer charisma and charm of the leading ladies, and they do not disappoint."

The romantic comedy genre is saturated with stories of young love and middle-aged romance. Book Club proves that age is no barrier to love and that the golden years can be the best of times.

Book Club brings together veteran stars Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen as lifelong friends who bond over a book club they have attended for decades. The four friends lead very different lives, Vivian (Fonda) is a fiercely independent and successful hotel owner, Diana (Keaton) is a recently widowed mother of two doting daughters, Sharon (Bergen) is a divorced federal judge and Carol (Steenburgen) has a long-lasting marriage that has lost its intimacy.

Each of their worlds are thrown upside down when Vivian introduces the titillating 50 Shades series into their book club which reawakens feelings and desires they had long since lost. The friends find themselves in a series of awkward situations as they pursue their new-found passions with an innocence that belies their age and the results are both hilarious and endearing. 

What sets Book Cub apart from other romantic comedies is the new perspective age gives to relationship issues such as online dating, sex and commitment. Each member of this star-studded ensemble is given a different relationship issue to deal with. For Vivien, it is a struggle with commitment to old flame, Arthur (Don Johnson). For Diane, it is breaking free from her family’s fearful expectations to pursue a new romance with the charming Mitchell (Andy Garcia). For Sharon, it is moving on from the pain of rejection, and, for Carol it is trying to reignite the spark with her husband. Each of the characters has a distinct and satisfying arc and there is a lesson to be learnt from all their stories.

This year has seen gender stereotypes flipped in nearly every genre - for example Ocean’s 8 (heist/crime), The Incredibles 2 (animated adventure), Annihilation (mind-bending sci-fi), Life of the Party (slapstick comedy) and Adrift (survival at sea). Book Club brings that same theme of female empowerment into these tales of romance in the golden years. The film promotes the idea that a better life can be forged with a proactive attitude geared towards positive change no matter the circumstance or age. 

Book Club is an optimistic portrayal of love that shies away from any truly biting satire or the harsher realities of aging. This light-hearted film relies instead on the sheer charisma and charm of the leading ladies, and they do not disappoint. For a group of stars that made their mark in the 70s and 80s, they show that after 40 plus years in the business, they still have what it takes to shine.

Book Club sends a hopeful message; that life is worth living to the fullest no matter the season, for we only lose the capacity to love, laugh and connect when we give up trying. And for those who dare to love, the final chapters in any life have the potential to be the very best.