Book Club: The Next Chapter

Front Row at the Movies by Shirrel Rhoades


Ever belong to a book club? If so, you’ll know that sometimes it’s difficult for members to stay on topic. In the 2018 film “Book Club” it was kinda like that.

After the four friends (played by Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen, and Candace Bergen) read the steamy bestseller “Fifty Shades of Grey,” their love lives took an interesting turn. That made it hard to focus on books.

Now in a sequel – “Book Club: The Next Chapter” – the gals take their book club to Italy. Sort of the “the fun girls’ trip they never had.” You can be pretty sure there’s more than reading going on. And you won’t be surprised when things go astray. After all, Andy Garcia, Don Johnson and Craig T. Nelson are also back for the trip.

Both films were directed by Bill Holderman and co-written by Holderman and Erin Simms. But one moviegoer exclaimed, “Thought this was a Nancy Meyers movie…beautifully made.” Yes, it has the same vibes.

Holderman says he wanted to make a movie in which “women of a certain age are given rich character arcs, in which they can exist as romantic and sexual beings, in which they can learn and grow and change.”

He continues, “It feels like women of this age – and obviously we talked with the cast a lot about this – they get relegated to these, not irrelevant roles, but they don’t get full arcs. They get to be sort of grandmothers, or aunts, or the wacky neighbor. It’s like they don’t get to have their own story lines and drive their own character arcs. So that was something that was really important to us.”

This seems to be a new trend, movies about elderly women having adventures and going places. “80 for Brady” was one of these. So was “Moving On.”

The fact that Jane Fonda appears in all of these is a testament to this new cinematic refuge for older actresses. It’s good to have a place for aging talent like Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Rita Moreno, Sally Field, Meryl Streep, as well as Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen, and Candace Bergen.

These national treasures seem to be constructing their own girls-night-out genre.

Not even Don Lemon would say these ladies are past their prime.

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