The Perfect Italian Circle

Book Club: The Next Chapter

Director: Bill Holderman

Cast: Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, Andy Garcia, Don Johnson, Giancarlo Giannini, Hugh Quarshie, Giovanni Esposito, Vincent Riotta.

Running Time: 1 hour and 47 minutes

Film Rating: 6.5 out of 10

One thing admirable about America is that they don’t believe in ageism. In actual fact director Bill Holderman’s hilarious if slightly quirky sequel to 2018’s Book Club, entitled Book Club: The Next Chapter is testament to that.

This sequel reunites the four elderly best friends from the first film, Diane, Viv, Sharon and Carol played respectively by Oscar winners Diane Keaton (Annie Hall), Jane Fonda (Coming Home, Klute) and Oscar nominee Candice Bergen (Starting Over) and Oscar winner Mary Steenburgen (Melvin and Howard).

As the four best friends emerge out of lockdown in the early 2020’s they decide that it is a fitting time to travel to Italy before Viv weds her gorgeous boyfriend Arthur played by Don Johnson (Django Unchained).

Book Club: The Next Chapter takes the four friends from the familiar ground of New York City to the beautiful sites of Italy starting off in Rome in which they think that their holiday is going well. That is until their luggage gets stolen as they board a train to Venice.

It is in the deceptive beauty of Venice that things go awry as Sharon chats up an interesting man at the local bar Ousmane played by Hugh Quarshie and Carol reunites with an old Italian flame at his restaurant in Venice, Chef Gianni played by Vincent Riotta. While Diane has to reassure Viv about having pre wedding jitters. The scene with acting legends Diane Keaton and Jane Fonda is worth seeing but ironically out of the four main stars, it the raspy voiced and slightly cynical Sharon wonderfully played by Candice Bergen who steals the show and is the best in the film.

After the Venetian adventures, the four ladies set off for Florence and Tuscany for Viv to fulfil her destiny only to be stopped short by some gorgeous looking buff Italian cops. Fortunately an unlikely knight in shining armour, the Italian Police Chief played by Oscar nominee Giancarlo Giannini (Seven Beauties) rescues them and safely transfers them to Tuscany, whereby the men in their lives are there to meet them.

Book Club: The Next Chapter is a very light hearted romantic comedy specifically aimed at the older generation featuring a host of A list stars who seem effortlessly at ease in front of the camera. Let’s face it Jane Fonda has been acting since she appeared as Roger Vadim’s Barbarella in 1968.

While the film’s script needed some work, the Italian scenery certainly makes up for any faults and is gorgeous to look at. Book Club: The Next Chapter is an enjoyable romantic comedy set in Italy and just proves that it’s never too late to find love. Book Club: The Next Chapter gets a film rating of 6.5 out of 10 and is as whimsical as a gelato, but just as enjoyable.

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