Book Club – Review

Worth seeing: for the impressive performances of the four leading ladies growing old disgracefully that turn an otherwise standard romcom into something that rightly turns heads.
Director:Bill Holderman
Featuring:Candice Bergen, Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Mary Steenburgen, Andy Garcia, Craig T Nelson, Don Johnson, Ed Begley Jr, Richard Dreyfuss, Wallace Shawn
Length:104 minutes
Released:1st June 2018


It centres on four lifelong friends (played by Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen) who meet up for their monthly book club in which they drink copious amounts of wine and discuss worthy works.

That is until Vivian (Fonda) introduces them to the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy to spice up their lives…which it inevitably does.


It is great to see these stellar actresses in the driving seat, clearly having a blast, and flying the flag for older women, an under represented demographic on the big screen, despite apparently being the fastest growing.

The film’s first-time director Bill Holderman reportedly had to fight to cast Fonda, Keaton, Bergen and Steenburgen because the studio allegedly wanted younger women to play the roles .

Yet it is thanks to these iconic stars’ impressive talent that what is a rather pedestrian, frothy rom-com (written by Holderman and Erin Simms) turns into a fun and entertaining ride.

Did Fonda and co deserve better written characters and much raunchier and edgier material?

Of course, as this should have been more Sex & the City for the over 70s than the First Wives Club.

On the plus side, it isn’t as patronising or as demeaning as most films aimed at this demographic (remember Hampstead, Finding Your Feet and The Time of their Lives).

It also takes product placement to new levels as E L James’ mummy-porn trilogy along with Christian Grey, his red room and Anastasia’s inner goddess (which I would happily have strangled at birth) are referenced copiously throughout the film.

Ironically the movie’s biggest gag is that Anastasia’s (aka Dakota Johnson) dad Don Johnson portrays Fonda’s character’s former flame.

Meanwhile Andy Garcia (on fine silver fox form), Craig T Nelson and Richard Dreyfuss play Keaton, Steenburgen and Bergen’s love interests, respectively.

But it is the women’s friendship and their newfound desire to grow old disgracefully that takes centre stage.

It is just a joy to see these phenomenal actresses in action playing off each other and showing older women behaving badly as they call time’s up on ageism in Hollywood.