Fifty Shades of Grey(ing) Hair: A Review of "Book Club"
Of late, Hollywood has recognized that there is a still significant, more mature, even senior citizen, movie audience; and they’ve duly come up with products catering to that film audience niche. Book Club firmly falls in that category, but this time, instead of putting male actors in the lead roles, in this era of women empowerment, we get four seasoned actresses leading the charge. If you were looking for a film to bring your mother or your favorite tita to, here is that perfect date movie which will have her laughing at all the right spots.
Book Club stars Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Diane Keaton and Mary Steenburgen as four high school friends who have stayed in touch while traversing different career paths and are now well into their 60s. Fonda’s character is a hotel owner still afraid of commitment; while Bergen’s is a federal judge whose divorce from 18 years back still haunts her. Keaton’s role is that of a recently widowed mom of two grown daughters who dote over her; while Steenburgen is married but has a husband with whom she hasn’t shared intimacy for several months. They meet regularly as an informal book club and it’s when Fifty Shades of Grey is put on their reading list, that a litany of regrets, questions, and ‘what if’s’ rears it’s head.
Mined for light, comedic moments, and displaying how women post-post menopause can still seek novelties, excitement, and fulfilment; Book Club has numerous jokes about Viagra, sagging bodies, Spanxx, nostalgia, repressed desires and jumpstarting relationships that have gotten into a rut. There are even notions of Starting Over and how it’s never too late. Adding enjoyment to the proceedings are the ‘Men in their lives’; as the likes of Don Johnson, Andy Garcia, Richard Dreyfuss, and Craig T. Nelson are similarly dusted off their acting shelves.
The little irony in the casting is that while the film has the girls claiming to be in their 60s; in real life, only Steenburgen can say she’s actually in that range. Keaton and Bergen are in their early 70s, and Fonda even older. So it’s great to see these women given the chance to work together and have some onscreen fun. My only reservation would be that these four can do so much more than play light comedy, and are given such a predictable screenplay, one wishes they were stretched some more, to remind us of just how wonderful actresses they were in their time.