Book Club came out May 18th, and my best friend and I went to see it opening night and what we got was far more than the handful of laughs we expected.
The movie tells the story of four best friends who have gotten together once a month since their college days for their book club. Diane, Vivian, Sharon, and Carol are all independent, successful women who have taken their teenage dreams all the way to the top — Vivian a hotel owner, Sharon a federal judge, Carol a chef and restaurant owner, and Diane with two adult daughters and a grandchild on the way.
First off, I want to say that I LOVED the cast for this movie! I know Diane Keaton (Diane) from Father of the Bride, Mary Steenbergen (Carol) from Did You Hear About the Morgans?, Candice Bergan (Sharon) from Miss Congeniality, Bride Wars, and Murphy Brown, (just to name a few). And while I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Jane Fonda (Vivian) before, I think she did a great job with her character. Candice and Diane were made for comedy and I think they were both outstanding in this movie!
I was also happy to see the leading men played by some actors I haven’t seen on screen in quite a while:
Andy Garcia (Mitchell) – also in Ocean’s Eleven
Craig T. Nelson (Bruce) – also in Coach and The District
Don Johnson (Arthur) – also in Nash Bridges.
While being the antagonist in Ocean’s Eleven, Andy Garcia was charming and magnetic, just as he was in Book Club, pulling me into his character and making me root for him from the start.
I haven’t personally seen Craig T. Nelson, I think since he starred in the 2000-2004 drama The District, so it was nice to see him again and in a comedy.
And I grew up watching Nash Bridges, and I was so surprised and happy to see Don Johnson in this movie! It seriously made my day! Don’s mannerisms and speech, to me, always look and sound so fluid and natural that I’d never think he doesn’t belong there; he always makes a character belong — always makes it look genuine, and I love that!
Getting back to the story, these four friends find themselves in new territory as they learn to adjust to a changing (and often unjust) world. First Diane’s daughters try to get her to move to Arizona so she is closer to them, then Sharon’s ex-husband announces his engagement to a much younger woman on the same day their son gets engaged. Carol is worried the spark has gone out of her marriage, and an old flame comes to town, shaking everything Vivian thought she knew about herself. So what are four friends to do under such pressures? Read a book, of course! But not just any book: Fifty Shades of Grey.
All a little afraid or even embarrassed to read it, the four friends soon realize that society has put them into a box that they are not ready to be in yet — the “Old-and-Done-Being-Loved” box. The box that tells them they are too old to date, too old to go on adventures, too old to look nice, too old to love themselves and be happy.
And they aren’t buying into it.
So that’s when they all have to decide, are they going to succumb to the label of old maid, or become the fierce, beautiful cougars they earned the right to be?
I loved how this movie so truthfully displayed how women are often seen. How society thinks only the young and beautiful are loved, or only the young ones should care about how they look. As if our age should determine our right to happiness. And taking on that viewpoint quite bluntly in some parts of the movie, I saw these women just stand up and say no, that is not who we are.
Vivian knew what she wanted and how to get it; she knew that not a lot of women build hotels and run them without a business partner or life partner, but she kept working until she got where she wanted to be. Carol was beautiful and talented and probably could have found a shorter route to the top, but she chose to work for her dream, going to culinary school and paying her own way by being a waitress. Sharon knew that being a judge would be a hard and often lonely job (proven when her husband left her for a younger woman) but it didn’t stop her from wanting to make a difference in the world. Diane loved raising her daughters and once they were grown she had the spirit and strength to do something for herself.
I’m giving Book Club five stars. It was extremely funny, lots of adult and specifically feminine humor (this movie would be perfect for your girls’ night out!). And it felt very empowering to me; it was a good reminder that yes the world is unfair, but we as women can overcome it with hard work, good friends, passion, and love. The characters were all unique people, but their chemistry was amazing! And all the ladies’ love interests were very good matches for them. As far as the characters go, I don’t think a better choice could be made. The comedy was great but the ending for each woman was even better. I loved this movie, and I highly recommend it to comedy and romance fans alike! And by the way, what a great way to let the world know that these actors are not only still around, but still doing amazing work!
Length: 1 hour, 44 minutes.
My rating: five stars for comedy, romance, great friendships portrayed.
Favorite character quote:
“It’s just like riding a bike, you never forget.”
“Note to self: watch Carol ride a bike some time.” (Vivian)
Watch the trailer here!