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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Promotes strong female friendships and not allowing stereotypes to define how you age. Also positive messages about healthy marriages, sex and intimacy/commitment, and how adult children and their parents interact.
Positive Role Models
All four main characters are role models in different ways: Vivian is a successful entrepreneur, Carol is a celebrated chef and generous philanthropist, Diane is an attentive and loving mother, and Sharon is an admirable and respected judge. They're all encouraging and supportive friends to one another. No notable diversity within the cast.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots of discussions about sex (or lack thereof). Jokes about erections, unused vaginas, celibacy, one-night stands. Vivian shown putting on her shoes after casual sex. The friends quote from, have conversations about "hot" scenes in Fifty Shades of Grey. One character has sex in a car after a date. Another attempts to seduce her husband, puts Viagra in his beer. A husband suffers through a prolonged erection. Husband and wife rush off to have sex off camera. A new couple is shown in bed (clothed) and kissing in various places.
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One use of "f---ed up," plus occasional use of words including "s--t," "hell," "ass," "damn," "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation), sexual use of "come," nonsexual use of the term "lethargic pussy," etc.
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Products & Purchases
Book trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey prominently featured, as are Eargasm, Mercedes cars, iPhone, iPad, MacBook, Bumble, the book Wild, Honda, Buca di Beppo restaurant, Viagra, Volvo, Toyota Prius, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Smirnoff vodka.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Wine in nearly every scene: The women drink it (especially white wine) a lot. In one scene, the four of them finish three bottles of wine and one bottle of hard liquor. Other adults drink beer, wine, and cocktails at restaurants, bars, parties, etc. Diane takes some sort of anti-anxiety or sleeping meds to fly on a plane.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Book Club is a comedy about four best friends (Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen) whose lives change after they agree to read Fifty Shades of Grey together. E.L. James' trilogy plays a prominent role in the movie; it's quoted and discussed several times and acts as a catalyst for each of the women to re-examine the state of her own love life. Not surprisingly, there are many obvious references to sex, several scenes of flirting and kissing, jokes about erections, and a couple of shots of couples who are either about to have sex or have just had it. Expect occasional strong language (including one use of "f---ed up") and lots of drinking (especially of white wine). Teens may not be especially interested, but the movie does have strong messages about female friendships and healthy relationships. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
No matter how you feel about the Fifty Shades of Grey books, it's a treat to watch this quartet of excellent actresses on screen together, although the comedy is only somewhat entertaining. Although it would be wonderful for the 65-and-over actresses to perform in a film that didn't involve Fifty Shades as a central plot point, it's undeniably amusing to see them banter in this Nancy Meyers-like comedy. (Gorgeous homes? Check! Keaton's trademark costume style? Check! Sexagenarian romance? Check! All-white cast? Check ...) It's also refreshing for a movie to offer the possibility that older women can be with younger men (Johnson is 12 years younger than Fonda, and Garcia is 10 years younger than Keaton) and to cast acclaimed actors like Wallace Shawn, Ed Begley Jr., and Richard Dreyfuss in supporting roles.
The characters' various love stories are unevenly played out, with Keaton's and Fonda's the most traditionally romantic, Bergen's played for laughs (she finds her suitors through online dating), and Steenburgen's somewhat bittersweet except for a predictable sequence involving Viagra and its long-lasting effects. But it's not the romances that make this film watchable, it's the supportive relationships between the women. The dialogue is authentic -- as is the high amount of alcohol consumption associated with women's book clubs (it's unclear how the characters were functional at their jobs after drinking so much wine). Two of the best parts of the movie are the breathtaking California and Arizona locations and the nostalgic soundtrack, which ranges from Paul Simon and Meat Loaf to Tom Petty and Roxy Music.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.