When screenwriters Bill Holderman and Erin Simms wrote and produced Book Club in 2017, they had no idea how revolutionary the film would become. Based on a real-life incident, when the authors decided to send their mothers a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey (yup, you read that right), the most intriguing thing about this franchise is that a major studio put their money where their mouths are producing a film with four female leads over the age of 65. They didn’t scoop up just anyone, but the legendary Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Mary Steenburgen and Candice Bergen.
With Book Club: The Next Chapter, these four besties take their book club to aa whole new level traveling to Italy for the girls trip they never had. When things go off the rails and secrets are revealed, their relaxing vacation turns into a once-in-a-lifetime cross-country adventure.
Rather than ignore or shy away from the realities of the Covid, the film places us right in the middle of the pandemic with their characters taking their book club virtual to stay connected right from the start . “You don’t take anybody for granted anymore because you’ve been locked up in a house without many people that you love,” says Steenburgen. Gotta say, I can totally relate to this as my tribe – the Sister Circle did the exact same thing in addition to meeting via ZOOM every Friday night.
Between concealed weapons, losing luggage to faux train porters and sex on boats and trailers, I laughed so hard. At the end of the day, age of the women or the men in this film are ultimately of no consequence. What matters is all of them are riding this thing called life until the wheels fall off – an ideology understood and embraced wholeheartedly, along with the fact these women are validating the men and calling all the shots (not vice versa). With most romantic comedies (regardless of age) focusing on the opposite, I applaud Bill and Erin for flipping the script. It’s just one of the many things that made this film fun, fluffy and hella interesting.
Not to mention the chemistry and performances of its stars, including Andy Garcia, Don Johnson and Craig T. Nelson make it all worthwhile. Produced by Focus Features, Book Club: The Next Chapter is in theaters now.