Book Club

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Book Club

for men

for women

Runtime 105 minutes
R

This is the ultimate chick flick, and I am not really qualified to judge how it will be received by women. I thought the slice of life dialogue unremittingly banal and an enormous drag. My assistant, on the other hand, said that this is exactly the way women speak with one another and she loved it. If that’s true, then the commonly accepted idea that women are more mature than men is false.

First-time director Bill Holderman thought he was putting together a movie about women in their 60’s. So he cast octogenarian Jane Fonda, two septuagenarians, Candice Bergen and Diane Keaton, and only one woman in her 60’s, Mary Steenburgen. Maybe that’s why the dialogue seems so forced and stilted to me.

All of these people have reputations that they are accomplished actresses (something I could debate), but they all fell flat in these roles (which was unsurprising to me). Whether it was due to the directing or the writing (Holderman and Erin Simms) or the acting by the four women is hard to determine. It’s probably a combination of all three.

The only performances that rang true for me were those of Don Johnson, who plays Fonda’s old lover, and Andy Garcia, who falls for Keaton. Actually, one good segment of the movie is the relationship of Keaton to her two overprotective daughters who think they know what is best for her and want her to leave her home in Los Angeles and move to be near them in Arizona, a dilemma with which many older women find themselves faced. Often their children treat them as children themselves, and think they know what’s best for their mothers instead of letting them lead their lives. That’s about the only part of the movie that I found to have any merit whatsoever.

Well, the cinematography (Andrew Dunn), especially a flight in a small plane that Garcia takes Keaton over Sedona, Arizona, is quite good, but that only lasts for a couple of minutes.

My assistant insists that the conversation amongst the four women is highly realistic. Reluctantly trusting her, I’m giving this a higher rating for women. I still feel that men will find it hard to endure, and I wouldn’t be surprised if women found it as inferior as I did.

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