Andrea’s Angle | “Book Club: The Next Chapter” – Fun and Endearing


One of the elements I liked the best when I was thinking about this film was that it focuses on a much-neglected group, older women. As a woman who is creeping higher in age myself, I appreciate a story that I can relate to and that shows there’s life in your seventies. So I went in expecting this film to cater to older women. Given that, I was not disappointed. The film embraces that life goes on even when you are older and that there is still much to experience. The film does this with humor, irreverent jokes, and having fun with the age of its actresses but also embracing the sweet and endearing friendship of women. While it is far from perfect, the friendship is well presented, and the filmography is beautiful, with music that matches every heartbeat of the movie.

Book Club: The Next Chapter is a romantic comedy film written and directed by Bill Holderman and is a sequel to the 2018 film The Book Club. In the film, the four friends have weathered the pandemic, maintaining their book club online. Now that they are finally able to meet in person, Carol (Mary Steenburgen)suggests they travel to Italy, especially once they find out Vivian (Jane Fonda) has gotten engaged to her boyfriend Arthur (Don Johnson). Vivian, Sharon (Candice Bergen), and Diane (Diane Keaton) hesitate, but one by one, are convinced to give it a try. The women go to Italy for the fun girls’ trip they never got, but when things go off the rails, and secrets are revealed, their relaxing trip turns into a once-in-a-lifetime cross-country adventure. The film also stars Craig T. Nelson as Bruce, Carol’s husband, Andy Garcia as Mitchell, Diane’s beau, Hugh Quarshie as Ousmane, Giancarlo Giannini, and Vincent Riotta as Chief Gianni.

4195_PP_D002_00040-00060_RCC (l-r) Diane Keaton stars as Diane, Jane Fonda as Vivian, Candice Bergen as Sharon and Mary Steenburgen as Carol in BOOK CLUB: THE NEXT CHAPTER, a Focus Features release. Credit: Riccardo Ghilardi / © 2023 FIFTH SEASON, LLC

One of the aspects that the film does well is not shy away from the toils and foibles of growing older. There is plenty of humor that tackles the process of getting older, like replacement knees, but the writer also doesn’t shy away from female sexuality. And just because these ladies are older doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in sex. Much of the humor also revolves around their love lives and some of the roadblocks they encounter while on their trip. Candice Bergen is especially a highlight with her comedic timing. She is hilarious in this film as she embraces being single but is happy with her life. She has a dry wit that just makes every scene with her in it dynamic and funny.

The film also does well with expressing the friendship between these four women. I could only wish for a friendship rooted in this much love and as long-lived. But just like in real life, the four do not hesitate to share hard truths with each other, reveal secrets and give each other love and support. The depiction of their friendship is beautiful, endearing, and sweet. One of the best scenes is when the four go shopping for a wedding gown for Vivian. Just the act of them picking out dresses illustrates their joy and love for each other.

4195_D018_00176_RC3 (l-r) Mary Steenburgen stars as Carol, Candice Bergen as Sharon, Diane Keaton as Diane and Jane Fonda as Vivian in BOOK CLUB: THE NEXT CHAPTER, a Focus Features release. Credit: Riccardo Ghilardi / © 2023 FIFTH SEASON, LLC

I also absolutely loved the scenery and filmography as the women travel through Italy. The backdrop is gorgeous, and the different cities they visit only highlight the beauty of the area. Those who’ve never traveled may just fall in love with the countryside we see in the movie. Accompanied by just the perfect music, either original Italian music or American songs sung in Italian, the music enhances the beauty of these moments in the film.

BC-TNC_FP_0087_R (l-r) Diane Keaton stars as Diane, Jane Fonda as Vivian, Candice Bergen as Sharon and Mary Steenburgen as Carol in BOOK CLUB: THE NEXT CHAPTER, a Focus Features release. Credit: © 2023 FIFTH SEASON, LLC

The film focuses on the four women, so the success of the film does fall on their shoulders. This is one of the areas that the film is mixed. Candice Bergen is incredibly dynamic and funny and shines in her role as the independent Sharon who has decided marriage isn’t for her. Mary Steenburgen is gorgeous, but it is her endearing personality and sweet nature that makes her moments in the movie shine. The character of Carol worries about her husband but learns lessons along the way that allows her to embrace her life again. Diane Keaton pretty much plays a subdued version of herself, quieter but not as dynamic. She is skilled in her performance, but the film doesn’t allow her to shine as much as the other two. Lastly, we have Jane Fonda. She is very much herself, and while her personality shapes the character, it does lose some charm knowing that I’ve seen this character before. The supporting cast, however, are all excellent, but none of the characters get a treatment that allows the characters to be well developed.

BC-TNC_FP_0046_R (l-r) Mary Steenburgen stars as Carol, Jane Fonda as Vivian, Diane Keaton as Diane and Candice Bergen as Sharon in BOOK CLUB: THE NEXT CHAPTER, a Focus Features release. Credit: © 2023 FIFTH SEASON, LLC

The other big issue with the film, other than the lack of character development, is that the film is highly predictable. If you’ve seen a romantic comedy, there is nothing unexpected. There are a couple of scenes where you can tell the writer was trying to spin the expectations, but there is so much foreshadowing, I never was at a loss for the next scene, and there were zero surprises for me.

If you like sweet and endearing films or love Candice Bergen, I do still recommend this movie. Candice Bergen is hilarious, Mary Steenburgen is sweet, and the friendship between the four is endearing. The film is full of life lessons that all of us can be reminded of, and the adventurous trip is exciting and fun, especially with the scenery and the musical accompaniment. If you just want to have fun, go see this film. Especially if you are older, it will give you hope that there is much to life after your fifties.

Rating: 3.5 quotes out of 5.

Official Website: Book Club: The Next Chapter | Official Website | May 12 2023
Twitter: @BookClub
Facebook: @BookClubMovie
Instagram: @bookclubmovie
Hashtag: #BookClub



Genre: Comedy/Drama/Romance

The highly anticipated sequel follows our four best friends as they take their book club to Italy for the fun girls trip they never had. When things go off the rails and secrets are revealed, their relaxing vacation turns into a once-in-a-lifetime cross-country adventure.
BOOK CLUB: THE NEXT CHAPTER opens exclusively in theaters nationwide on May 12, 2023.

ONE-LINER: The Next Chapter is Always the Best.

We welcome your comments and feedback below. If this is your first visit, be sure to read the Privacy / Terms and Conditions Of Use. And Please, Play Nice.

As an Amazon Associate we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Thanks for visiting. Let us know what you think.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.