While it’s irrefutably true that where exactly you are in life has more to do with your opinion of a movie than maybe even the movie itself, some films are more demanding than that. To truly let go of your reservations and take Bill Holderman’s rom-com Book Club: The Next Chapter how it was intended, you’d need to tame a lot of your cynicism, and even your politics may need to take a backseat. And if you can look past the tremendous exhibition of privilege the characters wish to pass off as their impassioned revolt against fate, Book Club really does bring about quite a ray of hope, a toned-down version of which could be yours too. Barring the recurrent The Alchemist references that can be chalked up to Carol, Vivian, Diane, and Sharon’s hallmark optimism and the flamboyantly mushy ending, it’s quite refreshing to see four women who’ve gracefully entered a stage of their lives where there are a lot of stigmas and refused to bow down to the social expectations that come with their age.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In ‘Book Club: The Next Chapter’?
Going stir-crazy in the lockdown, Viv, Diane, Sharon, and Carol have no other choice but to navigate the intricacies of Facetiming. Lucky for them, the lockdown is lifted soon, and a meeting between the four friends comes as a breath of fresh air. At their age, they’d hardly expect to be blindsided by the news of an engagement. But love, evidently, pays heed to no rules, and after decades of steering clear of the marital institution and prioritizing her self-autonomy, Viv has been won over by her boyfriend, Arthur, and now she can’t wait to tie the knot. And if one of them can be bold enough to take up a whole new route in life, why should they stop there? So, with the idea of making one of their oldest dreams come true, Carol proposes a trip to Italy and backs it up with the idea that the trip would be Viv’s bachelorette. Of course, Viv herself leads the grouchy army with the argument that she shouldn’t fly off to a whole other country so soon after her engagement. But what do you know? Arthur is more than on board with Viv living it up with her girlfriends in gorgeous Tuscany. A couple more signs given by the ecstatic universe later, the four pack their bags and board the plane to the dreamy country of prosecco and love.
What Effect Does The Trip Have On The Four Friends?
The longer ‘Book Club’ pursues the intimacy the four friends share, not only do we get to know more of their individual idiosyncrasies but also the absolute honesty that elucidates the foundation of their friendship. From getting their bride-to-be friend a surprise wedding dress to nudging Carol to let loose a little with her long-time crush, Chef Gianni, the friends have time and again been the warm hues of love and support that make life worth living for each of them. But at the same time, they’re not the type of friends to enable questionable or self-destructive behavior to avoid digging into uncomfortable topics. However, they’re not always the best at being sympathetic to the underlying issues that might induce less-than-desirable tendencies in someone. For instance, they’re rather curt in their treatment of Diane when their luggage is stolen, and they learn that she’s been illegally carrying her late husband’s urn. And they’re quick to call out Carol for being overprotective of her husband ever since she found out that his heart is not in great shape. But at the same time, it’s understandable why they are the way that they are.
While it’s easy and not entirely inaccurate to link their “live, laugh, love” attitude to their privileged lives, they’re also just women at a stage of their lives where it’s now or never. If anything, the trip has been more of a reminder for them that if they put off living in the moment in exchange for playing it safe, the rest of their time on earth will certainly pass them by. Now is not the time to agonize over all the reasons not to do something when tomorrow is becoming less and less of a guarantee. So, they battle through the lack of belongings thanks to the thieves, a night in an Italian jail cell thanks to Viv taking a good-looking cop for a stripper, and a police helicopter ride to the surprise wedding venue to seize the day and not waste a second pondering over everything that could go wrong.
‘Book Club: The Next Chapter’ Ending Explained: Why Did Vivian And Arthur Cancel The Wedding?
What Book Club strives to emphasize as an essential element in life is supportive friendship. Viv, Carol, Sharon, and Diane have been friends since they were 19. They’ve seen each other grow into these wonderful human beings that they’ve only come to love more the longer their friendship has gone on. They’ve offered their shoulders to one another through loss, grief, heartbreak, and difficult life choices, just like true friends would. It’s the acknowledgment of this unconditional support that has acted as the indispensable safety net they could fall back on any time the need arose. It’s also the unabashed, non-judgmental, safe space that one gets from a loving friend that serves as a beacon of light that helps them steer their lifeboats in the right direction, no matter how dark or cruel the sea.
Viv’s never been one to romanticize the very institution of marriage, whereas Diane has had a rather sullen experience after getting married only because she was pregnant. While Carol and Sharon have never really pushed their own ideals on those two, they’ve also always been the flagbearers of hope that have helped Viv and Diane face their fears of commitment. Breaking the old single cat-lady stereotype, Sharon has repeatedly shown herself to be a mouthpiece for love and passion. And even though Diane herself has been wary of grand expressions of romance ever since her husband died, and she’s sort of maintained a problematic distance from her boyfriend Mitchell, she knows that the love Viv has for Arthur is strong enough to overcome any anxiety she may have about the road that lies ahead. With her friends’ support, Viv looks beyond her wedding jitters and her discomfort toward the idea of belonging to someone and walks the aisle with the sincerest smile on her face. But should love really require the kind of compromise that makes someone betray their very identity and relinquish their individuality?
Arthur certainly doesn’t believe that. So he pays no mind to the guests who’ve cleared their schedules to fly at a moment’s notice and exhibits the warmest gesture of love by setting his loved one free of any unreasonable obligation. And in doing so, he proves that he loves Viv for who she is—a woman who doesn’t need to trap her finger in a wedding band to show the world that she loves him. The fact that she overcame her unease and walked to the altar to make him happy is proof enough of the love Viv has for him. And to not let the moment and the venue go to waste, Diane and her boyfriend take each other as husband and wife in the company of the people who mean the world to them. In choosing to go on the trip at a stage in life where most people would rather stay home with a book, the four friends have shown that they’re beyond the expectations society holds for people of their age group. They prove that it’s never too late to seize the day because, as long as you have another day to look forward to, there’s no point in not making the most of it.