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Book Club - Film Review

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by JC (subscribe)
I have a had a life-long love of the arts; enjoying theatre, ballet, art and movies. We are all time poor and have limits to our entertainment budget so I hope an honest review will help make your choices easier.
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Delivers a light-hearted and giggle-filled girl's day out
When four university friends decide to form a Book Club, little do they know that it will define their friendship for a lifetime. Now 40 years later, Vivian (Jane Fonda) introduces the Book Club to Fifty Shades of Grey (by E.L James). So begins a comedic exploration of relationships, and more pointedly sex, for women in their sixties. The friends goad each other into action, resulting in a whirlwind of events that will push the boundaries of their relationships and tighten the bonds that unite this sisterhood.

This is a star-packed production. Diane (Diane Keaton) is a recent widow with two over-protective, if not over-bearing, children who are ready for her to embrace old age in their newly converted basement. Vivian (Jane Fonda) is a successful, sexually and financially independent glamour girl living life on her terms, i.e. enjoying, but not needing men. Sharon (Candice Bergen) is a high court judge, divorced from a husband who had found youth again by hooking up with a 30 year old. While Carol (Mary Steenburgen) has been happily married for years and is a successful chef/restaurateur. Just for spice, the ladies are joined by a few gorgeous men including Andy Garcia, Don Johnson, Craig Thomson and Richard Dreyfuss.

Overall, it was a pleasure to see these greats on the big screen again, and everyone was in good form. However, some characters were based on well-worn stereotypes. In particular, Diane Keaton, played an all too familiar role; even down to her classic well known masculine dress code. None the less each character was a good fit to the story, so the déjà vu wasn't too jarring. For me, the success of this film comes down to the special sisterhood that sits at its core —to carry your friends through a lifetime and have them there for you no matter what. Isn't that the true measure of success we should all be aiming for.

While some of the other characters stagnated with repetitive stories and performances, Bergman's character, who struggled most with the 'Fifty Shades' model for life and love, had enough depth to fill the void. Initially, we meet a dry-witted and slightly bitter divorce, but as the movie unfolds Sharon (Bergman) transforms her views on dating after sixty - a discovery she has plenty of life left to live.

You will be pleased to know that Fifty Shades of Grey was simply used as a launch pad to explore sexuality and love. While the film is full of innuendo and frivolity about awkward sexual moments, no whips or chains were used in the making of this film.

I personally found the comedy predictable and the storyline a little contrived, however, in an audience filled with ladies cradling glasses of wine, the laughs were loud and frequent. This film promises and delivers a light-hearted, girls day out.
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When: August
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