Book Club Review and Director Interview
It’s rare these days to see a movie with true movie stars. There is plenty of popcorn fare with beautiful celebrities (any Marvel movie) and some good dramas with great actors. But Book Club starring Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen is something special. This group of women is so appealing and charismatic that it’s hard not to like it.
Book Club is about a group of women in their 70’s* who have been meeting every month for more than 40 years to read books, drink wine and chat. Things get shaken up when Vivian (Jane Fonda) picks “Fifty Shades of Grey” for their selection.
Diane (Keaton), a widow who is unhappily being mothered by her two adult daughters, meets a beautiful man (Andy Garcia) on a plane and starts dating him. Carol (Steenburgen) realizes it’s been months since she’s had sex with her husband (Craig T. Nelson) and does some wacky things to get his attention. Sex is a far more distant memory for Sharon (Bergen), a federal judge who hasn’t had sex in 6 years and is still bitter from her divorce. She starts online dating and it’s hilarious. Then there’s Vivian who has plenty of sex, but gets caught up in a romance with an old boyfriend (Don Johnson).
Book Club is very sweet and a bit of a fantasy. None of the women have to worry about money or their health. Diane lives in a gorgeous house in Santa Monica and her love interest is Andy Garcia who is a younger, rich, airline pilot who lives in a a great house in Sedona. Vivian runs what appears to be The Montage in Beverly Hills and lives there.
But, like I said, there’s something to be said for having four amazing movie stars in your movie. They’re just so likable that you can get into the fantasy and want everything to turn out well.
The film’s co-writers Bill Holderman and Erin Simms got the idea for the movie after Holderman gave his mother a copy of Fifty Shades. They started writing the screenplay with Diane Keaton in mind and even named the central character Diane. Lots of writers have actors in mind when they write a screenplay, but not that often does it work out this way.
“It was literally a dream come true,” Simms said.
Another dream come true was getting to know the actresses and having them be as lovely in real life as they had imagined. Sarah and I covered the movie’s red carpet premiere and everyone in the cast was incredibly nice (that doesn’t always happen).
“On set they were even better than you can imagine in your best version of the world,” Holderman said.
Not only do you not find many movie stars in movies these days, but it’s even more rare to find a movie with all female leads who are over 60. Holderman and Simms said they never considered casting younger women. It just wouldn’t be as funny and the story is ageless anyway, Holderman said.
“It’s that challenge we all face of whether we feel worthy of love in a relationship, ” he said. It feels pretty ubiquitous across all age ranges.”
Book Club opens in theaters nationwide today.