Reviewed by: Francisco Gomez Jr.
People’s search for Earthly happiness and true joy is ultimately futile without a right relationship with our Creator
What is SEXUAL IMMORALITY? Answer
My boyfriend wants to have sex. I don’t want to lose him. What should I do? Answer
Diane Keaton… Diane
Jane Fonda … Vivian
Candice Bergen … Sharon
Mary Steenburgen … Carol
Andy Garcia … Mitchell
Craig T. Nelson … Bruce
Don Johnson … Arthur
Alicia Silverstone … Jill
Richard Dreyfuss … George
Ed Begley Jr. … Tom
Wallace Shawn …
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Paramount Pictures Corporation
a risqué and profane senior sex comedy
“Book Club” is the directorial debut of Bill Holderman and stars Diane Keaton(Diane), Jane Fonda (Vivian), Candice Bergen (Sharon), and Mary Steenburgen (Carol). Andrew Dunn works behind the camera to capture the story written by Bill Holderman and Erin Simms.
A group of women decide to create a book club by reading the erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey. It opens up conversations and emotions that the ladies had not felt in a while. They find themselves in various situations as they are encouraged by each other and by their book talks. A lot of it includes sexual situations, but as the story progresses it becomes a story of the women finding themselves.
Let’s talk about the moviemaking quality before content for concern.
The performances by all the talented actresses is sympathetic and effective. They all brought their talent to the table. Diane Keaton and Mary Steenburgen in particular deliver the heart that keeps the film afloat.
However, the film seems to not know who their audience is, and that makes the comedy very uneven. They wanted to tread the line between mature and yet juvenile comedy… perhaps envisioning to capture the kid or quirk in all of us, but it misses the mark at times. There is a sense of dissonance between the performances of the actresses and the story the characters they play are trying to tell. This dissonance results in moments where the audience is expected to laugh, but the reasoning or motivations for the characters is sometimes questionable.
The best moments of the film are when you recognize Keaton being Keaton or Steenburgen being Steenburgen. Andrew Dunn who has a knack for romantic comedies delivers behind the camera. However, the story, performances, and technical aspects never seem to gel together—with a few exceptions throughout.
Sex/Nudity: The movies biggest motif is the erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey that introduced millions of women to sexual bondage, discipline and sadomasochism (S&M). This inspires most of the events of the film to revolve around the women’s dissatisfaction with the sexual part of their lives. The women talk about sex, act on desires, and focus a sizable amount of time on it. The risqué content is very heavy, repeated and worldly. Happiness and true joy are confused with sex. However, nudity is mild with only cleavage and mannequins.
Language/Profanity: The language is not overbearing but a couple of f-bombs warrant it a heavy rating for language. Profanity is surprisingly prevalent. With God’s name taken in vain numerous times throughout. The film also includes “sh*t”(5), “a*s” (2), and “h*ll” (5).
Drugs/Alcohol: The women do social drinking throughout the film.
Violence: Violence is very minor consisting of a couple of slaps on an arm and a slap intended for comedic purposes.
The women have become disillusioned with their current state of life. They seek to find joy or exhilaration in their various endeavors. A lot of it includes sex and finding pleasure or inspiration from an erotic book. This is a feeling that perhaps many people share. Often times people try to find happiness in various endeavors, but never seem to find the right thing that fills the void.
Scripture tell us that chasing our human concept of happiness is often vanity, because our hearts are in the wrong place. The characters’ journey in the film reminded me of the journey of the “teacher” in the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes. Throughout that book the “teacher” explains that he has searched for meaning in everything under the sun, and has found it all pointless. In the end, he concludes that only God can bring fulfillment, and poetically advises that we remember Him in all we do.
“Remember him—before the silver cord is severed, and the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, and the wheel broken at the well” –Ecclesiastes 12:6
He advises us to remember the Lord in our youth, as we can spend our lives serving him. When we grow older the things we used to cherish about ourselves such as beauty or riches may fade, and having a basis of fulfillment in the Lord—the only thing that is steady—is the only way to ensure that our joy is based on someone permanent. However, it is never too late to turn to the Lord, especially in times of need.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” -Matthew 11:28
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The cast brings their talent to the screen to try to counterbalance a sometimes awkward script. Bill Holderman’s debut as director is uneasy, but shows glimpses of potential that may be better developed in other genres. Andrew Dunn’s work is steady. The movie features ungodly sexual situations and profanity that will make true followers of Christ uncomfortable. Furthermore, the middle of the line quality may be enough for many to make their choice. As always, use spiritual discernment and prayer when deciding what to open your eyes and potentially your heart to.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” -Proverbs 4:23
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.