BOOK CLUB: THE NEXT CHAPTER – A Review by Jenn Rohm
In 2018 Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen came together to celebrate friendship and show that there is life, adventure, and laughter at age 65 and after. Five years have passed, and we now have the second film Book Club: The Next Chapter. The film starts during the pandemic with learning to use Zoom and Amazon delivering their next book to read. Mini updates are provided to catch the audience up with where they are when they finally get to be in the same room at the same time again. Carol (Steenburgen) had been cleaning and found an old journal about the group’s planned trip to Italy. At that time Diane (Keaton) found out she was pregnant, and the group never took the trip. The group decides now is the time to go.
The movie is very predictable, and the script didn’t allow for the strength of talent this cast could give. Bergen has a few lines that come close to what I was expecting from this project. That said the movie is cute and there were moments that had me giggling and others where laughter did take place. I appreciated the pacing and the beautiful scenery of Italy.
I would like to take a moment and talk about costuming. There were no stereotypical elastic waist pants, floral house coats, or orthotics that I saw on the main cast. Vivian (Fonda) was in current custom-tailored fashion and even when handed a Bride sash and tiny veil looked very refined and fashion-forward. Carol (Steenburgen) was boho-chic with modern cut floral dresses that were figure flattering. Sharon (Bergen) stayed true to her legal job power suits and post-retirement in slacks and button-down shirts in solids. Diane (Keaton. Yes, her name and character name are the same) had her signature style of turtleneck or neck scarf, vests, wide-leg pants, and even a polka dot skirt. This was accomplished by the talented Stefano De Nardis taking a turn from current standards and having the majority of the wardrobe made specifically for this film. In an e-mail interview (with Leanne Delap) DeNardis wrote:
“To me, ‘age appropriate’ means being able to have a personal style and let it out through clothing,” he said. “I believe more in ‘personality appropriate,’ than ‘age appropriate.’” He continued on to advise, “So anything goes, even if it’s daring, as long as it respects the (not always simple to handle, after a certain age) features of the wearer.”
I am pleased to have another strong female cast movie that is filled with friendship and being honest even when the person needing to hear, doesn’t want to hear. I do wonder if there had been less script and more your charter is here and needs to end you here what this cast would have delivered.
Director: Bill Holderman
Written By: Bill Holderman, Erin Simms
Cast: Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen
MPAA Rating: PG – 13 for some strong language and suggestive material
Selig Rating: 3 stars
Runtime: 1h 47m
Release Date: May 12, 2023
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie/show, well worth the time and price.
4 Stars – Good movie/show
3 Stars – OK movie/show
2 Stars – Well there was nothing else …
1 Star – Total waste of time.