Book Club Parent Guide
This movie feels like a pastiche of chick flicks which has been tweaked to reflect the age of its cast.
Parent Movie Review
Books have power. They can take us to the past, to far flung lands, to imaginary worlds, and into the minds and hearts of fascinating people. They can explore the riches of our language and even bring us closer to the divine. So, what happens when four mature women decide to see what they can learn from a book of soft core porn?
The answer is: not much. Book Club is ostensibly about how reading Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels (which have been adapted to the big screen) helps a group of longtime friends change their lives. But as the movie unfolds it becomes apparent that the book has little to do with the choices they make. Their own wishes, mutual support and encouragement are what make it possible for them to follow new paths.
Sadly, those paths aren’t terribly original. Book Club feels like a pastiche of chick flicks which has been tweaked to reflect the age of its cast. The club member who brings the popular, provocative novel to the monthly meeting is Vivian (Jane Fonda), a wealthy hotel owner and advocate for sex without commitment. Restaurant owner, Carol (Mary Steenburgen), is happily committed to her husband but is concerned that the sizzle is going out of their marriage. Diane (Diane Keaton) is recently widowed and is trying to escape the smothering care of her daughters. And Sharon (Candice Bergen), a federal judge, is carrying lots of baggage relating to her 18 year old divorce. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure out what is going to happen: Vivian meets the man whose proposal she rejected 40 years ago and rethinks her fear of commitment, Diane has to choose between her own happiness and the expectations of her children, Carol tries to figure out why her marriage feels flat, and Sharon learns to move past her issues with her ex-husband.
A cursory look at the script makes it clear that this movie will not be of interest to children or even teenagers. This is a good thing because it is not suitable for kids. The first issue that will trouble parents is the non-stop consumption of alcohol: characters guzzle so much wine in this film that it should receive billing as a supporting actor. Alcohol is part of almost every social situation and it is often imbibed to excess. Characters also drink alone and to manage stress.
Not surprisingly, the biggest area of concern in Book Club is the sexual content. There is no explicit activity and no nudity. But sex is the raison d’etre for the plot and everything revolves around it. Vivian constantly extolls the merits of sex without relationships. Carol is so desperate to re-ignite her marriage that she slips erectile dysfunction pills into her husband’s beer without his consent. The natural result of this action is played for laughs but it also leads to some reckless driving. (Carol does realize that she was in the wrong and apologizes.) Sharon tries her hand at online dating and after her first outing pulls the man into the back of her car. The next scene has him getting out of the backseat wearing disheveled clothing which is tangled up with her underwear. Characters occasionally refer to whips in an erotic context or otherwise refer to 50 Shades of Grey. The attitude towards intimacy in this movie is summed up when Sharon asks, “Who gets involved in a relationship at sixty-seven? What is the point?” Vivian responds, “The point is to get laid.”
When Vivian hands out copies of Fifty Shades of Grey to her fellow book club members, she says, “From what I hear, this book is quite stimulating.” Sadly, the same can’t be said about this motion picture. The storyline is predictable, the characters are flat, and it feels like the actors are just going through the motions. Potential viewers are better off going to the library and finding a really good book.Directed by Bill Holderman. Starring Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen. Running time: 104 minutes. Theatrical release May 18, 2018. Updated May 18, 2018
Rating & Content Info
Why is Book Club rated PG-13? Book Club is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sex-related material throughout, and for language.
Violence: There is no violence in this movie.
Sexual Content: The plot revolves around an erotic novel—it is occasionally quoted. Whips are mentioned in a sexual context. Characters encourage sex without commitment. One character is given an erectile dysfunction medication without his consent. His erection is mentioned and becomes a source of humor; it is also visible even with his trousers on. His wife grabs his crotch while he is trying to drive. Female genitals are mentioned in a sexual context with both anatomical and slang names. A main character is startled on a plane and accidentally grabs the crotch of the man sitting next to her. A man asks a main character to kiss him; she does and then pulls him into the back of her car. Sexual activity is implied. Several characters are seen kissing, on one occasion with the man lying on top of the woman.
Profanity: Terms of deity are used throughout the movie. Sexual expletives are used on two occasions and mild expletives are occasionally heard.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Characters drink constantly, both alone and in social situations. Alcohol is consumed to alleviate stress. Main characters drink to excess. A main character slips an erectile dysfunction medication into her husband’s beer without his consent but with the encouragement of her friend. A main character takes prescription drugs to manage her fear of flying.
Page last updated May 18, 2018
More parents' guide for Book Club after the break...
Book Club Parents' Guide
The women in the book club read Fifty Shades of Grey despite (or because of) its scandalous reputation. Many have argued over whether the book is erotica or pornography. Do you think it makes a difference? Is erotica a stepping stone to pornography? Do you think pornography and erotica are benign or destructive? Do you think Book Clubaccurately portrays the effects of reading erotica or porn? Do you think it strengthens or weakens intimate relationships? Difference between erotica and pornography:Fifty Shades can be beneficial: Fifty Shades is porn: Fifty Shades is a gateway to porn: Porn damages relationships: Fifty Shades harms women: Fifty Shades and violence against women:
The books we read have an enormous influence on us. Studies have shown that reading literature increases intelligence and improves empathy. For instance, children who read the Harry Potter books have also been shown to be more empathetic. What have you learned from the books you have read? Literature increases empathy: Harry Potter increases empathy:
Books also have the power to change nations and economies: when girls are educated, economic growth increases, population growth slows, and political radicalization declines. Why do you think that is? What can be done to make sure the benefits of books and education reach more people? Educating women reduces poverty: Educating women can reduce radicalization: Making education and books available to everyone. See Also: Camfed.org Warchild.org
News About "Book Club"
The novel read by the book club has been made into the movie Fifty Shades of Grey.
Related home video titles:
The Jane Austen Book Club follows the romantic adventures of six women whose lives begin to resemble Jane Austen’s novels. In Austenland, a Jane Austen fan spends her vacation in an immersive novel experience. A pair of dueling book store owners find love in You’ve Got Mail.