Naturally, most films aren’t made for the grey-haired set, certainly not the supposedly steamy movie (and huge bestseller) that was mistakenly named “Fifty Shades of Grey” since it was NOT about age and hair color but bondage and dominance in the name of boredom and too much money. So the director Bill Holderman (again, a male director) probably thought, since seniors have more time and can go to the movies during the day, why not making one with a script that somehow integrates “Fifty Shades of Grey” without showing explicit sex?
So what we have is the new movie “Book Club“, which is about four 70-ish girlfriends in the form of the formidable actresses Jane Fonda (80), Diane Keaton (72), Candice Bergen (72) and “youngster” Mary Steenburgen (65).
They’ve been meeting since the seventies to discuss books, and fearless boomers that they are, they’ve now set their eyes on that pot-boiler because they don’t want to be left in the dust and miss out on something new and exciting that brings back the old to sparkle maybe? Settle down and have a sip of Chardonnay because this is where I come in if I may, and reminisce a bit.
So what actually happens when an older woman watches something like the much talked about sex-shocker? I can tell you.
I saw the movie over 2 years ago. My expectations were low then, after all, the book had been cattily labeled “Mommy Porn” by critics – meaning it wasn’t too scandalous, so the star, Dakota Johnson, were able to send Mom, Melanie Griffith, to the movies without cringing.
Here’s the short form of my reactions: after a fair amount of eye rolling, a few yawns and many laughs, unabashed nostalgia hit me with flashbacks, which I think are inevitable when seeing present day sexual adventures by youngsters. I compared – something the four actresses might have done as well while learning their lines.
I was a self-possessed young woman in 1968 who certainly wasn’t as easily impressed by men as the young heroine in this movie. We were living in exciting times, right in the middle of the sexual revolution. Freedom for all!
And, I was living it up with gusto, passion and wonderful sexual encounters. Men were after us in droves, right? And when you’re young and desired you feel like you can pick and choose and take your time because there will always be a long line of men waiting for you with impatient passion. (That turned out to be a slight miscalculation after 60). In contrast, there was a lot of coyness and quivering, lip-biting and blushing. The hip girls of the 60s would have never ever seen such a benign and bourgeois retro movie like “Fifty Shades of Grey”. Nobody was interested in being a pliant princess who was into bondage and submission.
So, both films, the new senior-citizen “Book Club”, and the older pop-porno “Fifty Shades of Grey” for the bored millennials, are indeed amusing for us Boomers. Especially, if we want to be reminded of simple sex without an agenda, when fresh ideas and unruly lust made us roll around on the floor, laugh and drip with real sweat.
Maybe it was the pot we smoked, maybe just the silliness of carefree youth.
But I’ll be damned if we can’t get there again! In this case with liters of Chardonnay which these 4 amazing pros in “Book Club” are guzzling non-stop. After all, you’ve got to remain buzzed and keep the rose-colored reading glasses on!
Read the full piece in slightly different form here: