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FILM REVIEW: BOOK CLUB (12A)

Sex and the City for the older generation.

To be honest, the thought of being at a book club fills me with dread.

The thought of being at a book club that focuses around Fifty Shades of Grey is even worse.

That’s the premise behind newbie filmmaker Bill Holderman’s movie.

It tells the story of four women that regularly hold a book club. There’s Diane (Diane Keaton), a recent widow and the mother of two condescending daughters. Sharon (Candice Bergen), who still struggles with a decades-old divorce. Carol (Mary Steenburgen), who is in a sexless marriage, and Vivian (Jane Fonda), who has commitment issues and therefore enjoys her men with no strings attached.

When Vivian suggests the book club read EL James’ erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey, the others are reluctant at first. But before long, Christian Grey’s antics result in a sexual awakening and the women find themselves on their own journeys of self-discovery.

Sadly, the film rarely brings the multi-Academy Award-winning cast together as a whole. When they are together, the cast really bounce off each other well – naturally portraying how life-long friends are around each other. They drink wine, insult each other and laugh-out-loud.

I’d liked to have seen more of that.

The narrative focus for each character is interesting enough, but when they’re off on their own, pursuing men or whatever, the energy drops dramatically.

Fifty Shades was a hot topic of conversation about five years ago, and I can’t help but feel Book Club would have felt much more relevant if it had been released a few years back. Thankfully, there are not as many Fifty Shades references throughout the film as I feared there may have been. The trailer practically looks like one big advert for the books – with moments where they’re literally waving it in front of the camera.

Instead, it mostly features heavily towards the start, to get the story going.

Overall, Book Club is full of clichés and you can see how each character’s story will conclude from a mile-off.

To be honest though, I quite liked that. The familiarity is part of its charm. There’s nothing new or ground-breaking here – but if it isn’t broken, why fix it?

Mikey Clarke

[youtube id=”MdwO8XAPJtc” width=”600″ height=”350″] 

Cast: Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Andy Garcia, Craig T Nelson, Don Johnson, Richard Dreyfuss, Wallace Shawn, Ed Begley Jr & Alicia Silverstone

Running Time: 1 Hr 44 Mins

Director: Bill Holderman 

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