8 June 2018.
THE BOOK CLUB **1/2
Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen – fine actresses (Keaton and Fonda are both Oscar-winners) and old time troupers. Add Mary Steenburgen and they make up the Book Club, a foursome of close friends from way back who like to read books and discuss literature. Median age around 72. Until they fall upon the infamous and steamy ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and can’t help but think a lot about sex and how it fits into their ‘mature’ years.
The male contingent includes a mellowed Andy Garcia (‘Ocean’s 11’), a still attractive Don Johnson (‘Miami Vice’) and old Richard Dreyfus. With such a power cast and fun premise, this could have been a great film in the genre of “Something’s Gotta Give” (Keaton and Nicholson) or “It’s Complicated” (Streep and Baldwin). Unfortunately this film doesn’t have any of the wisdom or pizzazz of those Nancy Meyers’ romantic comedies. In fact, the script and dialogue by (the too-young?) Bill Holderman is often cringeworthy while the clichés about ageing and relationships are simply embarrassing. One wonders how such worldly, intelligent women could have agreed to mouth such inanities…
But hey, go see the film for their collective charm, star power and a few chuckles, and for the ever-special Diane Keaton who is still as quirky as when she played Annie Hall, for which she won that Oscar.
THE EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY OF THE FAKIR ***1/2
Now here’s another film with a few holes in its scenario, but a spirit so warm and entertaining, and such an uplifting fairytale that it will have you floating out of the cinema – if you’re an optimistic romantic…and if you do NOT compare it to the book.
Directed by the French Canadian Ken Scott and based on the French best-seller of the same name – with a few cameos by French stars such as Berenice Bejo and Gérard Jugnot – the film will take you on a fantasy ride. Its protagonist is at first an adorable, huge-eyed little boy living with his loving mother in Bombay. They struggle to make ends meet. As a grownup he manages to get to Paris in search of his father whom he has never met. Via a dream store reminiscent of IKEA, various detours take him also to London, Spain, Rome and a refugee camp in Libya.
Here is the world at your feet with all its warts and wonder, while your heart is in your throat, wishing the earnest young Fakir all he desires.
This charming film has it all – in maxi size: the magical realism of ‘Life of Pi’, a love story à la Bollywood, and more adventures than you expected. It’s an exuberant, flawed delight that should not be missed!
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.