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Book Club – the film (Mamma Mia for the mature)

6th June 2018

Book Club – the film.

Four mature women participate in a regular monthly book club. Carol (Mary Steenbergen), Diane (Diane Keaton), Sharon (Candice Bergen) and Vivian (Jane Fonda) have all built up nice lives for themselves and they have some BIG jobs and wealth, but all are perhaps a little lacking on the “love” front, as they come to discover.

In their monthly bookclub they have read all manner of books from Don Quixote to Fear of Flying, and now it’s the turn of 50 Shades. As they sip their wine – and there is plenty of wine sipping (nay, glugging) throughout this film – they find themselves immersed in the plot of the book (well, not the plot per se, you see, but the goings-on orchestrated by séducteur extraordinaire Christian Grey – obviously). Is the 50 Shades series really suitable for mature minds, they ponder? Of course it is!

But perhaps they are not quite ready to reveal to all and sundry that they are reading these books, so they devise a spontaneous ‘cover’, and alight on Moby Dick as the pseudonym (can’t think why they just happened upon that book title, lol).

And this is one of the charms of the film, the quick-fire epithets, metaphors and double-entendres that certainly had the silver community at the showing I attended chuckling away, actually at times guffawing (and there were 2 men present amongst, maybe, 100 women). Yes it is funny and yes it is entertaining, poignant and a bit redemptive.

The women progress through the book, with quite a few theatrical oohs and aahs – some are more keen to get stuck in than others. In their different ways they all come to realise that, to some extent, their lives are on hold. The titillating exploits of Steele and Gray somehow worm their way under their skin. They are not mistaking sex for love but it is the lack of the latter that comes home to roost. Soul searching ensues.

The setting, part of which is around Scottsdale in Arizona, will have you jumping on the next plane with Andy Garcia (he and Diane Keaton happen to meet on a plane, and no, they don’t join the Mile High Club). At one point the two of them fly over the fabulous terrain and look across the stunning vista of the amazing and richly coloured rock formations, it is just awe inspiring (I know, I am eulogising about the area!); it will doubtless boost tourism to the area. Well done VisitArizona, a real coup!

This film will probably have its greatest following amongst those born mid 20th century (with a superb sound track to match). Lightweight and at times thoughtful and funny, it is a Mamma Mia for the mature, and it is clear that it must have been a lot of fun to film.

Tina for the TripFiction Team

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