Showing posts with label Living. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Living. Show all posts

Monday, May 15, 2023

FINALLY...Some Good Movies That Give Respect to the Older Generation!

[I review "Book Club: The Next Chapter," "Living" and "Maybe I Do"]

If you read my last blog post, you know that I was having a conniption fit about "80 for Brady" and its depiction of older women, but thankfully I am in a better mood and happy to share with you some really good experiences where getting older is taken seriously.  And don't get me wrong.  I am not above having some laughs at my own expense or at the expense of being old.  I just don't like to be the butt, pardon the expression.  So I am happy to say here are some movies about older folks that are serious about aging but also there are some laughs to be had that don't make fun of that time that we will all experience. Being old. Enjoy.

Book Club: The Next Chapter (2023)

The ladies of "The Book Club" - Diane (Diane Keaton), Vivian (Jane Fonda), Sharon (Candace Bergen) and Carol (Mary Steenburgen) - are back, but this time they are headed to Italy for a Bachelorette Party! What? 

If you saw the first "Book Club" movie, you will remember that these four women have known each other since college and have gotten together ever since for a monthly book club.  Reading "Fifty Shades of Grey" shook up their little world, and I have to say, that could have been a funny premise but I wasn't very kind in my review of that first one.  

However, maybe I am getting soft, because I am happy to report that I really enjoyed this film. And it's a sequel.  Go figure!  But what's not to like when a film celebrates female friendship, but more importantly, doesn't make fun of women in their 70's and 80's just to get some laughs ("80 for Brady," do you hear me)?  But don't get me wrong, there are some laughs to be had.

Written and directed by Bill Holderman, this time around the ladies of the Book Club are just coming out of isolation due to the Pandemic (they used Zoom to meet), but now they are ready to see each other again in person.  And when they do, they discover that Viv is engaged.  She has never married but decided to take the leap, with the handsome Arthur (played by the still handsome Don Johnson), even though she is in her 80's and still uncertain about marriage. 

But then Carol brings up the idea of going to Italy, a Girl's Trip they had always wanted to take but didn't because life got in the way.  So now with Viv's impending marriage, why not do a Bachelorette trip to Italy? They all have reasons not to go but they are reading Paul Coehlo's "The Alchemist," a modern classic about following one's dreams, so with that as their inspiration, they take the plunge and head for Italy.

So off they go to Rome, to Venice and Tuscany.  Fun and surprises ensue.

Great to see these four women together.  It is clear they all really like each other in real life and that is fun to watch.  Particularly fun to see Mary Steenburgen and Candace Bergen again who haven't appeared in films much lately. Candace still has that Murphy Brown dry wit.  Also Jane is amazing at 85.  She even makes a bit of fun of herself about her plastic surgery.  But Diane.  Like I said in my review of the first film.  Get over the "Annie Hall" thing.  The hat, the cinched belt, the poofy skirt, the combat boots. It's getting really old, and I'm not making fun of your age. It's old as in get over it.  However, I will give her some credit for toning down her usually jittery and nervous acting style. It's there but not as bad. 

So, okay, this film is as much a travelogue about the wonders of Italy as it is a comedy and, yes, it's silly and predictable at times, but people...Italy is actually a wonder (brought back some happy memories for me), but more importantly, finally, a film about four aging women that does not make fun of them.  And best of all, this film is all about the importance of long-standing, supportive female friends.  I enjoyed it very much. 

Rosy the Reviewer unexpectedly delightful film that celebrates the importance of longtime female friendships without making fun of that or the ladies.  A feelgood film. And Jane, I forgive you for "80 for Brady!" (In theatres)

Living (2022)

A 1950’s London bureaucrat learns he only has six months to live and decides to change his life while he still has the chance and make a difference.
Mr. Williams (Bill Nighy) works for the Public Works Department in London. He is a buttoned-up, bowler-headed bureaucrat who gets on the train each day, goes to work and routinely does his job. It's a 1950's Dickensian life in an office where little gets done. When some ladies come to the office to try to get his department to put in a park in an impoverished neighborhood, the paperwork goes from office to office to office, endlessly.

But then Williams finds out he is going to die and that shakes up his life. He goes to the Seaside to live out his days but realizes that his buttoned-up bureaucratic life has robbed him of the ability live. So he joins forces with Talbot (Jamie Wilkes), a local ne'er-do-well and hangs out at a carnival and some strip joints with the guy thinking he needs to party to the end. But that doesn't really work either.

And then Williams runs into Miss Harris (Aimee Lou Wood), a clerk who had worked for him but left because, well, let's just say she had more life in her than the rest of the worker bees in that office. Over a meal, she tells him that she had nicknames for everyone in the office. Of course, Mr. Williams wants to know what nickname she had for him. "Mr. Zombie." Well, that sets off a spark in him. Sitting with the lively Miss Harris, he realizes he has been dead all along, so before he dies he wants to learn how to live and do something important with his life. Remember that children's playground? Well...
I have to say at the outset, I saw the Japanese version of this film – “Ikiru” - back when I was working on my project to watch all of the movies in the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die” book. When I started I had already seen 600+ but that left me with over 400 to watch. It took me ten years, but I did it and you can see the fruits of my labors in my archive. Anyway, during that project, I discovered "Ikiru," the original film by the famed director Akira Kurosawa and that film was one of my favorite discoveries. You know, he's the guy who did "The Seven Samurai," which we Americans might only know because we saw the American remake, "The Magnificent Seven." So, even though I hate American remakes of perfectly good foreign films, I will give "The Magnificent Seven" a pass. But that said, since being in such a bad mood lately over the state of the world I came into watching this film with a chip on my shoulder. What? Take on Kurosawa, one of the most influential film directors of all time? I was skeptical, but writer Kazuo Ishiguro and director Oliver Hermanus pulled it off. It's a quite wonderful film.
The film is fairly faithful to the original screenplay by Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto and Hideo Oguni, but even if you saw that one, you will want to see this one because Bill Nighy is a powerful actor and a good story is a good story and a good message is a good message. And the last scene in the film…powerful filmmaking is powerful filmmaking! I cried at the end of the original and I cried at the end of this one.

This is a tour de force for Bill, and I must say, the soundtrack is exquisite.

Rosy the Reviewer says…a lovely small film that will leave you wondering about your own a good way. What would you do if you were given just six months to live? This film is a reminder that it’s never too late to find purpose and meaning in your life and do something important. (Amazon Prime and Apple+)

Maybe I Do (2023)

When Michelle (Emma Roberts) and Allen (Luke Bracey) decide to get married, it's time to meet the parents.  But turns out, the parents already know each other!  What?

Sam (William H. Macy) and Grace (Diane Keaton) "meet cute" in a movie theatre.  They are each there alone.  Sam is crying his eyes out so Grace goes over to comfort him. I know. I am certainly not going to go up to a strange man in a dark movie theatre and offer my condolences because he is crying into his popcorn. Not realistic but that's kind of what "meet cute" means, and Diane Keaton is known to do wacky stuff in the movies.  Anyway, they hit it off and end up spending the evening together talking about their unhappy marriages. Poor Sam. He actually hates his wife.

Meanwhile, Howard (Richard Gere) and Monica (Susan Sarandon) are in a fancy hotel room.  Monica is trying to seduce Howard but he is not interested.  The two have been having a four-month affair but Howard is over it.

And then there are young Michelle and Allen who finally decide to get married so they also decide it's time for their parents to meet each other. Well, I am sure you have already figured out what is going to happen. Howard and Grace are Michelle's parents and Sam and Monica are Allen's parents, and when they all meet, after getting over the shock of recognition, they all offer differing opinions about marriage which starts to get in the way of Michelle and Allen's wedding plans.

It's strange to see actors like Susan Sarandon and Richard Gere playing someone's parents these days when I remember them as romantic love interests in the movies of yesteryear.  But we all get old.

Based on a play by Michael Jacobs, who also wrote and directed this film, despite the predictability and some plot contrivances, this film actually takes getting older seriously.  It deals with the loneliness that often accompanies unhappy marriages, young love versus aging love and the fears associated with getting older.  There is a particularly moving scene where Sam has a conversation with his Dad, Allen, where Allen talks about loving one's parents vs husband and wife love.  A baby is given to you and you love the baby but you didn't choose the baby.  Your husband or wife is a choice.

Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey are an engaging young couple and Susan Sarandon and Richard Gere are both aging well, though Susan has defintely had some work done.  And William H. Macy is always reliable. But here's Diane again. I am just not a fan of Diane Keaton these days. I am glad that as an older actress she is getting work, but her nervous, jittery acting style gets on my nerves and that continuous "Annie Hall" look.  I am so over it, but at least here she is toned down a bit. Instead of jittery and nervous she is just twitchy.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a sometimes funny but often poignant little film about parenting, marriage and aging that doesn't make fun of any of those things. (Amazon Prime)

Thanks for reading!

See you next time!

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to like it and share it on Facebook, Twitter, or other sites; email it to your friends and/or follow me on Facebook at 

And next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!

(NOTE:  If you are looking for a particular movie or series, check out this cool site: JustWatch.  It tells you where you can access all TV series and movies)