Book Club movie cast: Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Richard Dreyfuss, Andy Garcia, Don Johnson, Craig T Nelson
Book Club movie director: Bill Holderman
Book Cluc movie rating: 2 stars
Would you call women in their mid-60s ‘old’ or ‘elderly’? Actually, it doesn’t really matter, even if you don’t split polite hairs, because women of this age, with their wrinkles and laugh-lines and anxieties, are rarely if ever seen in lead roles in mainstream movies.
That’s how old the foursome played by Keaton, Fonda, Bergen and Steenburger is, in Book Club, a film about female bonding over books and yes, bondage. As they pour over their copies of Fifty Shades Of Grey, these ladies giggle and gasp and drop their jaws, and are quite ready to drop their knickers, only if there were takers.
The premise is delightful. Just because women are over sixty, do they stop feeling sexual? That one’s a no-brainer, but as far as our movies go, that ‘age’ belongs to blood-pressure pills and learning how to be grandmothers.
Our pals, on the other hand, are raring to go: Keaton bumps into a charming pilot; Fonda fumbles around a guy who really, really likes her; Bergen learns to swipe right, and Steenburger re-kindles her romance with her partner.
You smile as you see these women laugh out loud, try on gravity-defying undergarments, and try on their dates for size: this is a demographic which needs to be seen so much more because they are so much more at ease with who they are and the bodies they inhabit.
But sadly, the plot is dull, and some of the lines gratingly obvious. The stakes are never high enough, even for Keaton who can be fabulously funny, when given a chance. Which is a pity, because these women, all smart, all their own persons, look capable of handling any kind of curveballs flung at them. But things stay middling, from start to finish.