Directed by: Bill Holderman
Written by: Bill Holderman & Erin Simms
Starring: Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Andy García
Women older in age still have sexual desires, as much as Hollywood would like you to think otherwise. They’re still human and have carnal needs, which a specific book happens to awaken within this group of long-time friends in Book Club. A beautifully light and fun exploration of four women attempting to rekindle the magic they had when much younger.
A group of four friends all stand in different places in their love lives. Diane (Diane Keaton) lost her husband, Vivian (Jane Fonda) has always been single because she values her independence, Sharon (Candice Bergen) divorced her husband 15 years ago, and Carol (Mary Steenburgen) is married but has a husband not interested in intimacy once he retired. After meeting for their regularly scheduled book club, they begin reading the provocative “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which makes them want to spice things up in their lives.
From the beginning, Book Club promised to be something incredibly light and fun about these women rekindling their sexual energy, and the film delivered in such delightful ways. The different ways these women struggle in intimacy sheds light on real circumstances facing older women, as typical convention would have them stowed away playing Bingo every night waiting for death. Instead, they go against this terrible trend and attempt to have some fun after getting very aroused by the ideas given to them by the book. Each of the journeys the women encounter has its own hijinx, but also incredibly sweet moments indicating love has no expiration date.
While the story revolves around the four women, Diane emerges as the lead, as we peer more into her life. She lives comfortably in her home, but her daughters want her to move to Arizona with them so she can be cared for. Their intentions are pure, as at any moment, their elderly mom could get hurt and they would be too far to assist immediately. Diane opposes this move because she feels fine and does not want to be treated as such a fragile old woman, but then she meets the incredibly charming Mitchell (Andy García). The chemistry between García and Keaton explodes off the screen as she engages in a beautiful romance of extravagance. A type of romance understandable for two people with no strings holding them back and able to live to the fullest.
All of the other women have their own arcs, including Vivian running into a man who had proposed to her in the past but she turned down because of her value of independence. Sharon wants to get back on the dating game, which turns her over to a mysterious new modern form of online dating. Carol attempts many ways to get her husband to take a sexual interest including spiking his drink with an erectile dysfunction drug, which leads to a hilarious interaction with a patrol officer. Each of them gets their own delightful conclusion because the issues in the film don’t feel so grave.
Each of the women has reached a level of success in their lives and are comfortable in every other facet except their current sexual experiences. It’s what makes it so light. These women are not looking at their lives overall and reflecting on what it means to be an older woman in the context of their lives. With its summer release, it served as a movie about this sexual exploration and promised to be something fun as we follow four legendary actors get involved in some comedic hijinx. The extravagance of their homes and the dates they go on, make it a mystery Nancy Myers had no involvement, as many of the locations feel straight out of her playbook.
All four of the lead actors bring their own charm and serve as a great reminder of what made them so beloved in the past and currently. Whether it be Jane Fonda’s strength or Diane Keaton’s whimsy to flow through life. It makes you want to just grab a glass of wine and go along for the ride in this incredibly pleasant movie. Book Club accomplishes the goal it set out to complete and allows us to sit back and see how these women face a new world of dating and how one book can light a fire within them willing to propel them past what society believes they should be doing with their bodies.