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Book Club: The Next Chapter tells you to live unapologetically

"Life is what you make of it. So do something. Do something brave. Do something, unexpected but do something"-Sharon

By 'Vive AkughaPublished 6 months ago 7 min read
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Image Credit: Screenshot by me

Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, Don Johnson and Andy Garcia are part of the cast of Book Club: The Next Chapter.

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Summary

The journey of the 4 best friends and book club members continues. We follow the lives of Sharon, Carol, Vivian and Diane around Vivian's engagement.

Takeaway

Arthur and Vivian are engaged. She felt conflicted about the engagement, relationship dynamic and the change of becoming a wife. She mentioned during her dress fitting, "I never imagined myself as a bride." She and Arthur reunited and took their second chance at love. She believed that being a girlfriend was the best position and "the greatest thing in the world." She said, "Oh it is! Being a girlfriend is sexy, it's exciting. You know it means you love somebody and you're committed to them but you still have your own life. You haven't given yourself up to society's conventions. It's all about choice. You choose to be there but you can leave anytime you damn well please."

Arthur learnt this and made some changes. During the wedding ceremony, he brought out a letter and read it to her. He said, "I don't need the title of Husband and I don't need the institution of marriage to know that I'm gonna choose you every day." He talked about how he proposed to her in their twenties because he loved her so much and he knew then. He said he still loves her but differently and that he came to understand her a little better. He said she's like a perfect circle in need to roam free anyhow she wants and if she's not, then it's not her and it's her he loves. Then, he knelt to ask her to not marry him and she accepted happily.

Sidenote 

Sharon said, "No. Life is what you make of it. So do something. Do something brave. Do something, unexpected but do something." The intention of the quote is present in the first and second movies. They made brave changes and took chances in different areas of their lives (Bruce with accepting age, Vivian with accepting commitment, Diane with living for herself, etc).

Faves

Carol and Mitchell.

The Book Club: The Next Chapter (2023) is a sequel to the 2018 movie, Book Club.

"But we are also adventurers"-Carol

Image Credit: Screenshot from Paramount Pictures on YouTube

It all started with "Four Best Friends and a Book." In the first movie, we join them in their over 40-year ritual to meet each month for book club. They read, discuss and catch up with each other as well. Vivian brought the idea up and started it with them after seeing it in a magazine. The first book they read shaped her philosophy. They read a new book each month and each person gets a month to pick what they're all going to read. Vivian chose Fifty Shades of Grey and it shaped their desires in various parts of their lives. They decided to adventure into this world which was new to them.

In the second movie, they still met each month to discuss the chosen books while catching up during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. They had a dream trip years ago but couldn't go. They start considering it again after Carol finds the book they planned it in. Arthur tells Vivian to go, Ginsburg dies and then no one has a reason to not go to Italy anymore. They decide to adventure and go on a Girls' trip. They also do various wedding activities for Vivian from Rome to Venice to Tuscany.

On their way to Venice from Rome, their things were stolen. Fake porters head off with their luggage after they give them their things (as Sharon joked about). Everything is gone except for their purses and Vivian's wedding dress. They didn't know there were no porters for the train station until later. So, with Carol's help, they decide to look at the bright side of things. Instead of being victims of the thief, they decide to be adventurers and she said it was referenced from the book, The Alchemist which they probably read in the past. With this, they decide to change their outlook and go exploring.

At the party with Ousmane(Hugh Quarshie), he brings some masks and more drinks to amp things up and Diane refers to the last movie where they read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy as she said "Oh, fun. Right? Very Christian Grey." Carol is worried about Bruce's health and monitors him regularly which he expressed has become a pain. Vivian tells her to stop controlling the uncontrollable and that surprises make things worth living.

"She takes control of her own destiny"-Diane

Image Credit: Screenshot from Paramount Pictures on YouTube

The ladies all have different professions, dreams, marital, and family statuses. They explore life among others. In the first movie, Sharon is a mother to one son, divorced, a federal judge and taking a chance on love. Vivian is a hotel owner, emotionally detached and fearful of heartbreak but taking a chance with her ex, Arthur. Carol is a restaurateur (and chef)and is still married to the love of her life, Bruce. Diane is obligation-driven, has two daughters, Jill (Alicia Silverstone)and Adrienne(Katie Aselton), and taking a chance on love with Mitchell. Diane's daughters were worried and overwhelmingly cautious about her abilities because of her age and distance from them. She felt undeserving of her individuality but after a while, she took charge and acted by talking to them. 

In the second movie, Sharon learned to live without her cat and for herself. Diane had to stop making excuses to not do things. Carol had to stop fearing and start living. Vivian learned to love someone in a committed capacity. Diane's scared of talking about marriage between herself and Mitchell. Before heading for the girls' trip, she told him that she thought Vivian's engagement was outrageous but he called it romantic. When she's mistaken as the bride, she says "Oh, definitely not me." Her marriage to her late husband, Harry was one of obligation because of her pregnancy. When she talks to Vivian (who is mourning her solo act), Diane tells her she's no one to judge despite doing so in the beginning. She said she's very brave, genuinely happy she's doing this and is happy they're friends. She said she would never have had the guts to do what she was doing. They talk, laugh and end their conversation. 

They are held in a prison after Vivian's action and they all talk. They share their opinions of each other while saying "tough love." They tell Diane that she is always playing the victim. They say that she always finds an excuse to not do something like in the first movie when she felt as a mother that she had to be with her children who are adults. She was willing to stay in the proofed basement they arranged for her to make things better for them before she changed her mind. They call her out and she agrees which surprised them all. They all share things. Sharon asks them to do a tough love moment for her but they say she's fine and doing well. They say she has an amazing life but she should not get another cat.

Diane confronted her fear as she accepted Mitchell's engagement and marriage after he asked if her views on marriage had changed. He's never been married because he was never with someone who made him see the reason he should. She said she now believes that love is reason enough. Everyone's happy for them.

I like that they included Jane Fonda's contributions a bit. There's a scene when she takes a moment to step away from the girls on Zoom to show her support by screaming, 'Thank you, healthcare workers! Thank you!' Carol said no one's enjoying quarantine more than her.

"You're the loves of my life."-Vivian

Image Credit: Screenshot by me

They are "Four smart and successful women" who love each other. They are supportive of each other. In the second movie, with Zoom they were still there for each other through the ups and downs like Bruce's heart attack, Sharon's professional milestone (30 years as a federal judge), Diane's move to Mitchell's, and Carol's restaurant shutting down. They also tried new things like instruments, food, and animals. They reunite in person as the pandemic lessens and hug each other happily. 

On her wedding day, they all talk to Vivian about how she's feeling. She thanks them and says she loves them very much. They hug and she calls them the loves of her life. They talk to her and encourage her. When they realize The priest is missing, Sharon says she will officiate the wedding. Diane ends up married instead of Vivian and heads off with Mitchell. They start driving away but the car stops. She gets out of the car and runs back to her girls to ask what they're going to do after her honeymoon. Vivian said whatever it is, they're not going to leave it up to faith. Just like with Vivian, her girls come first.

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About the Creator

'Vive Akugha

I write on various things: social issues, well-being, cinema and out of curiosity. More!

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