By: Laura Bennett
Do you view the events of your life as something that happens to you, or that you have some kind of say over?
Book Club: The Next Chapter is the follow-up to the 2018 release that introduced us to Diane (Diane Keaton), Vivian (Jane Fonda), Sharon (Candice Bergen) and Carol (Mary Steenburgen) – four female friends who bond over books and their various approaches to post-menopausal life.
This time, Vivian is finally ready to commit to her long-time love Arthur (Don Johnson), and the group go to Italy to celebrate her upcoming wedding.
From a quote in the opening credits through to the final scene, Book Club: The Next Chapter rails against the idea of “fate” and the inevitabilities of later life, instead championing your ability to shape your future, fall in love and learn at any age.
The plot is simplistic and predictable, but there’s joy in it when you see these four characters – and actresses – push back on a narrative that says life only gets less interesting as you get older.
It’s ironic that this message is being delivered by the same Hollywood machine that promotes the tropes that glamourise youth above all else, but Book Club: The Next Chapter is a win for a different perspective.
It reminds us that a focus on physical changes and skin creams undermines the ageless human spirit that’s still driven by curiosity, hope and a desire for belonging whatever our life stage.
We may not all have the luxury of gallivanting around Europe on a girls’movie trip to work this out, but Book Club: The Next Chapter is a delightfully buoyant way to begin having better conversations about it.