‘Book Club: The Next Chapter' - Movie Review

Category: Television and Streaming

Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, Jane Fonda, and Mary Steenburgen return for the next chapter of their amazing friendship that has spanned 50 years. Book Club was produced in 2018 when the four women took on the challenge of reading 50 Shades of Grey.  Besides their emotions about the book, their personal lives played out as the film progressed. Now Book Club: The Next Chapter takes the foursome on a new adventure – to Italy.

The story begins with their lives during the lockdown when they had to communicate via the Internet. Now that the lockdown is over they get the chance to finally meet again in person. And when they do, they are in for a surprise. 

Vivian (Fonda) announces she is finally getting married to her beau Arthur (Don Johnson). To celebrate, the foursome decide to go to Italy for a “bridal celebration.” Carol (Steenburgen) is a little apprehensive about leaving her husband Bruce (Craig T. Nelson) who recently suffered a heart attack. Sharon (Bergen) is concerned about leaving her dog. And Diane (Keaton) worries about leaving her boyfriend Mitchell (Andy Garcia). But after being convinced, they all agree to head to Italy and finally take the trip they had planned decades before. 

What a trip they have! They find themselves in one precarious situation after another, but their loyalty and fun spirit prevails. It doesn’t matter that their luggage was stolen or that they spend a night in jail. What matters is their love and devotion to each other. After 50 years, this is a friendship that has stood the test of time and trauma, and continues to do so. This is something that many of us would love to have – an enduring friendship with very close pals with which we can share all the aspects of our lives without judgement, just tough love.

This girls’ trip is also a time when the growth in their personal lives proves to add to the fun of the story. Carol meets an old friend (Vincent Riotta) with whom she shares an entertaining evening. Sharon meets an interesting intellectual (Hugh Quarshie) with whom she shares a little more than just entertainment. The Police Chief (Giancarlo Giannini) seems to pop up wherever the foursome is, and in some very fun situations. But when it is revealed that Vivian has been set up by Arthur to have their nuptials in Italy, her emotions unwind. This is a woman late in life who has never been married. Although she loves Arthur, does she really want to be a “wife”?

Perhaps the most lovable of all the men in the show is Mitchell. Garcia plays him with a tender heart and a sense of love and gratitude to have Diane in his life. 

The first film in this franchise was cute however, even though I am not a big fan of sequels overtaking the original film, I have to say this second film is much better. There are so many laugh-out-loud moments woven into the story of friendship and love. 

As of this writing there is no confirmation they will reunite for Book Club 3. Fingers crossed they do as these women and their stories are like fine wine – they get better and better.

Book Club: The Next Chapter streams exclusively on Peacock. It is rated PG-13 for some strong language and suggestive material. (A dog dies off screen, there are kissing scenes, and implied sexual activities.)

About the Author

Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment industry for over 30 years. She also writes about products and travel. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as Internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet The World of Entertainment Journalists, is the entertainment correspondent for Good Day Orange County, and has her own TV show, Beyond the Red Carpet, on Village Television in Orange County. She is a longstanding member of the Television Critics Association and is accredited by the MPAA. Follow her on Twitter.