Okay, this movie was really funny. You could hear people laughing all the way up in the rafters of our local Marcus Cinema (for those not in the US Midwest, it’s a nice movie chain with reclining seats at the location L & D frequent — which is one of the reasons we frequent it.) While driving to this film I had a sort of similar feeling as I had before going into Blockers. Is this movie for me? For the L & D? I suggested to D that maybe he should be taking his wife to this. But I have to say, I was way off base. Book Club is actually a great buddy movie. And in attending new release films as much as we have I’ve learned that the great strength in movies is exposing people to other people, places and things they might not have any idea about…and realize how much they are similar and even how much they might like those odd people, places and things. I’ve realized that every movie is for everyone. You may not like it, you may even end up walking out but that movie was made for you to enjoy. (Except Mother!, if you enjoyed that you would enjoy an extended weekend in Palm Springs in June locked in a room with Rex Reed while he was forced, Clockwork Orange style, to watch a marathon session of Melissa McCarthy and Jodie Foster movies.) But yes, for most of the rest of us the real beauty of Cinema is being able to viscerally experience these foreign yet familiar dimensions, places, spaces and human emotions. It’s not something to be ashamed of but rather celebrated!
One thing about Book Club that immediately gets your attention is how easy on the eyes Jane Fonda is. At age 80, she has the sex appeal of a person half her age — let’s face it, even younger. I wanted to run home and try to dig up her Jane Fonda Workout VHS tapes from the 1980s. It’s here I will admit to wearing leg warmers during the winter of 1982… as a fashion statement. I know it doesn’t make it right, but all the kids were doing it. Though perhaps Jane Fonda is best known to youngsters for her bombshell role in the cult classic Barbarella, I had recently watched her 1978 masterpiece Coming Home, for which she won the best actress Oscar. And deservedly so. Her acting range was impeccable. There was even a steamy sex scene which I think fit right into the zeitgeist of the times— the post-Vietnam War reckoning and the cocaine fueled to hell with it attitude of the free love disco generation. In other words, Jane Fonda carried Book Club with her pinky.
The rest of the cast was also fantastic, with Mary Steenburgen, Candice Bergen, Diane Keaton reprising Annie Hall, Craig T. Nelson, Don Johnson and Richard Dreyfuss. I would give a special nod to Andy Garcia, whose character Mitchell was an understated and graceful study who was totally believable and likable. Also of note, the entire storyline of Steenburgen slipping Craig T. Nelson a couple of Viagara while out on a date…this is a riot and played particularly well.
So there is a lot of excellent going on with Book Club. Of course, like A Quiet Place, it’s not realistic (No, I will not let that go.) in that it’s unlikely that these ladies of a certain age would be hooking up with dudes of a certain age 10 years younger. And in this, the film plays more like an adaptation of a romance novel. But honestly, who cares, we are at Book Club to be entertained and entertained we are. We can see how truly amazing Jane Fonda is, so anything else can also be believed. Why not? Why not keep looking for love, falling in love and most importantly believing you deserve happiness, your entire life. It’s a great message to remember and try to live out.