“Book Club 2: The Next Chapter” is a light-hearted, funny, and beautiful portrait which uses Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” as the catalyst for everything.


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“Book Club 2: The Next Chapter” is a light-hearted, funny, and beautiful portrait which uses Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” as the catalyst for everything.

Director(s) Bill Holderman
Screenplay By Bill Holderman, Erin Simms
Date Released (In Theaters) May 7, 2023
Genre(s) Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Romance, Older Adults
Film Length 1 Hour 47 Minutes
Content Rating Rated PG-13
Noted Characters and Cast
Vivian Jane Fonda
Diane Diane Keaton
Sharon Candice Bergen
Carol Mary Steenburgen
Guzman Hugh Quarshie
Bruce Craig T. Nelson
Mitchell Andy Garcia
Arthur Don Johnson

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Film Summary

Through the pandemic, heart attacks, retirements, and even the death of a cat, Vivian, Diane, Sharon, and Carol have weathered many a storm, and with Vivian recently getting engaged, the idea is presented to go to Italy. Why? Well, the latest book the ladies have read, Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist,” has inspired Carol to speak of adventures, the universe being on their side, and while the others need some convincing, as time goes on, everything lines up.

But Italy, while tourist-friendly, still has characters who complicate the ladies’ trip. However, with every obstacle comes a valuable experience, and even Carol seeing a familiar face who, considering her husband is very much alive, has bad timing.

Things To Note

Why Is “Book Club 2: The Next Chapter” Rated PG-13

  • Dialog: Innuendo throughout
  • Violence: Nothing notable
  • Sexual Content: Beyond dialog and it being clear certain characters had sex due to ruffled hair, there is nothing here
  • Miscellaneous: Drinking

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Vivian

In her golden years, despite living a life where the idea of being a wife was often met with a grimace, Arthur has changed that. Now the idea of marriage, while it is paired with anxiety, is also a bit exciting.

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: Grace Hanson in “Grace and Frankie,” Adie Moore in “Our Souls at Night” and Leona Lansing in “The Newsroom.”

Diane

With a new love in her life, via Mitchell, Diane has begun to get past mourning her ex-husband. However, even with a new love, she remains the friend with the most inhibitions.

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: Annie Hall in “Annie Hall,” Sister Mary in “The Young Pope,” and Ruth Carver in “5 Flights Up.”

Sharon

Thanks to an empty house, and retirement, post-pandemic Sharon is up for an adventure and even some fun.

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: Murphy Brown in “Murphy Brown,” Barbara in “As They Made Us,” and Shirley Schmidt in “Boston Legal.”

Carol

Between Bruce’s heart attack and the restaurant closing down due to the pandemic, Carol has found herself slowing down in life, but something about Italy seems like a chance to live out loud once again.

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: Maggie in “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,” Tipper in “Happiest Season,” and Gail Klosterman in “The Last Man on Earth.”

Arthur

The kind of man Vivian has long needed as he allows her the freedom to be herself but also a safe place to recover when she is tired and needs some rest and relaxation.

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: Detective James Crockett in “Miami Vice,” Judd Crawford in “Watchmen,” and Big Daddy in “Django Unchained.”

Mitchell

Mitchell is a man with a silver tongue who always says the right things, which often leaves Diane flustered.

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: Fuentes in “Hemingway & Fuentes,” Father Parick in “Words on Bathroom Walls,” and Fernando Cienfuegos in “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again!”

Bruce

After a heart attack, Bruce finds himself under Carol’s watchful eye to the point of fun being an afterthought since, from food to activities, the fun times are so limited they damn near seem over.

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: Bob Parr/ Mr. Incredible in “The Incredibles,” Coach Hayden Fox in “Coach,” Zeek Braverman in “Parenthood,” and Coach Dale Ballard in “Young Sheldon”

Guzman

Guzman is a retired professor with a smooth voice and the kind of banter Sharon has long needed in her life.

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: Alex in “Breeders,” Roc Griffin in “Holby City,” and Captain Panaka in “Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace.”

Review

Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)Recommended

Highlights

Seeing Love At Any Age

From Vivian and Diane finding new love past 60, Sharon’s fling, to Carol’s long-term relationship, it is beautiful to see older adults in blissful love and happy. Yes, Carol is very worried about Bruce’s heart, and this makes her overbearing at times, but it’s an expression of love, not control. This doesn’t feel common.

Usually, when love is featured, especially at an older age, it is venting about an ex, complaining about someone you are currently with, or anything but something positive. Yet, “Book Club 2” pursues something different, refreshing, and even hopeful.

Sharon Getting Some

Everyone found love or had it in the first “Book Club,” while Sharon was left out in the cold. Thankfully, as hoped, the sequel at least allows her to have some fun, get some, and while she doesn’t end up with a boyfriend or husband, at least Sharon was allowed to get her groove back.

The Innuendo

There is something about older adults being politically incorrect and outright dirty that will always be funny. Even though some have had kids, dated, lived a whole life, somehow, the idea of a senior citizen talking and joking about penises and sex is still comical. And thankfully, when it comes to “Book Club 2,” it isn’t a comedy, so as much as Vivian may joke with Carol about doing something with her Italian ex, even though she is married, it doesn’t veer towards gratuitous or crude.

A Dose Of Light Hearted Drama

From Vivian worrying she isn’t the marrying type and is potentially making a mistake to Carol worrying about Bruce, there is a sense of reality in the film. It isn’t just a bunch of friends, because of some book, deciding to galivant throughout Italy, drink to get drunk and have a good time. There is very much a sense of escapism going on.

However, none of it is heavy. Even in Sharon’s case, with her cat dying and her house being empty, there is no drowning in her sorrows, talking about dying alone, or any of that mellow drama. Her life is full because she has friends, and would she like to have sex more often with guys like Guzman? Yes. But she doesn’t dwell on the negative but instead enjoys the positive, lives in the moment, and sprinkles some sarcasm on life when she needs to take the edge off.

I’d even throw in Diane. She is still in some form of mourning over her late husband, but the film wants to have it both ways. It wants this to be a trip about having fun and celebrating life, and Vivian’s engagement while recognizing you can’t change your location and leave your troubles behind. They come with you, and the only thing that changes is the distractions available to you. But, even with that said, rarely, if ever, does it go deep into the wound and push its audience to tears. If anything, it just wants to show you, as privileged as these women are, they are still very much human.

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Movie Poster
“Movie Poster,” Book Club: The Next Chapter, directed by Bill Holderman, 2023, (Focus Features)
Movie Poster
Book Club 2: The Next Chapter (2023) – Movie Review and Summary
Overall
“Book Club 2: The Next Chapter” feels like an unconventional sequel in that it doesn’t create the sense it was needed, or it wants to take things to the next level. Yet, you can’t imagine the story of this group of women being partly complete without it.
Highlights
A Dose Of Light Hearted Drama
The Innuendo
Sharon Getting Some
Seeing Love At Any Age
Disputable
85

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