Am I the only woman in America who did not like "Book Club"? For various and assorted reasons—not the least of which was three days of continuous rain—I was seriously ready for a rom-com, one that I could enjoy despite its being perhaps a little silly. What I wasn't willing to accept was one that insulted my intelligence while being as full of holes as Swiss cheese.
To be clear, I loved "Bridesmaids", another film about women behaving badly. I very much enjoyed "I'll See You in My Dreams", a rom-com with a slice of reality. And a book club saved my life back when I was having serious issues with my son's kindergarten teacher. I really, really wanted to love this movie.
Alas, I left with too many questions. Why did we never see Jane Fonda, as the owner of a chic California hotel, actually working? Ditto the chef/owner of a trendy restaurant. Certainly that has to be one of the most labor-intensive professions ever, yet Mary Steenburgen's character spent most of the time trying to get her reluctant husband into bed.
Diane Keaton was, as always, Diane Keaton. She has got that down so well the film didn't bother giving her another job. My favorite was the vulnerable Candice Bergen, believable as a federal judge, unfathomable as a divorcee obsessed with her ex-husband.
The male actors, (mainly Richard Dreyfuss, Craig T. Nelson, Andy Garcia, Don Johnson, and Ed Begley, Jr) all recognizable from better days and former glories, were for the most part accessories.
Speaking of accessories, my intent was to report on the fashion in this movie. I was interested how the actresses would be dressed in their roles as obviously well-off, sophisticated mature women.
A fun fact: the books the club is reading are E.L. James' "Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy. The costume designer for "Book Club", Shay Cunliffe, also did that for the third "Grey" movie, "Fifty Shades Freed". Oh, and featured actor Don Johnson's daughter Dakota starred in those movies.
Here's how Shay did:
Diane Keaton's character (also named Diane) is dressed like someone who admires Diane Keaton and adopted her best looks without the silly bits. Diane's wardrobe is mostly black and white, including a stunning white pantsuit worn to the airport (not too practical) and shown without the jacket above. She has one scene in a light blue shirt and great fitting jeans. Her makeup was understated and hair an impossibly sleek swatch of white blonde. Diane herself could take a few lessons on how to look like Diane in "Book Club".
Jane Fonda as hotel-owner-allergic-to-love Vivian wears intentionally body-con clothing that's more Sexy Cougar than high fashion. Some of the prints were a little matronly. The clothes fit her splendid shape flawlessly. She has not a wrinkle on them or her face. Jane Fonda is fairly encased in plastic these days. She doesn't look real until the scene with Vivian in an untucked plaid shirt scarfing ice cream, meant to demonstrate she was vulnerable to love and frozen dairy products. That red head of hair was pretty obviously a wig.
Candice Bergen's Sharon is a believable federal judge with her understated work wardrobe. She hasn't a clue how to dress for a blind date. I did laugh at her wrestling match with a foundation garment in a fitting room. Nobody won that fight. Less feasible was her transformation to a hot mama (more like a chic Martha Stewart) on her second blind date. Who gave her the makeover?
Mary Steenburgen is Carol, the chef and restaurant owner. Her wardrobe is modified Boho mixed with sleek working woman sheaths. Chef whites make a fleeting appearance but are never seen again. Her wardrobe is fairly forgettable, which may be why I found few shots to include.
I'll give "Book Club" props in two areas. It's a testament to the power of friendship, no matter how unrealistic those relationships might have been. It would be lovely to think your friends would help you dress for a big date when you are in your '70s, then hide behind a curtain to watch what happens. Or would it? Although the actresses range in age from 65 (Mary Steenburgen) to 72 (Diane Keaton and Candice Bergen) to 80 (Jane Fonda), they make for a plausible quartet of friends from college days.
Casting turned a blind eye to age. Jane Fonda is paired with Don Johnson, 12 years her junior in real life and Diane Keaton with Andy Garcia, 10 years younger. Another Hollywood moment!
You may notice a lot of wine in the photos. There is much drinking in this movie. Those glasses deserve a set decorator credit of their own.
|Looks like fun off set as well.|