Friday, July 31, 2015

Jane Fonda is a stitch in 'Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding'

0 comments
About the movie
Peace, Love & Misunderstanding
Genre:
Comedy; Family, Children's
MPAA rating:
R
for drug content and some sexual references
Running time:
01:36
Release date:
2012
Rating:
Cast:
Catherine Keener; Jeffrey Dean Morgan; Jane Fonda; Chace Crawford; Elizabeth Olsen; Kyle MacLachlan
Directed by:
Bruce Beresford

A touchy daughter and her feely mom form the emotional axis of Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding, a touching, feeling, touchy-feely series of emotional encounters that generate much warmth in Bruce Beresford's balloon-light family comedy. If it were any lighter, it would float away.

Catherine Keener plays Diana, a tightly wound corporate lawyer who lives in Manhattan with her husband and teenagers. One evening before a dinner party, her world comes apart. She loads the kids - her college-bound daughter (Elizabeth Olsen) and awkward high schooler (Nat Wolff) - in the car and takes the New York Thruway to Woodstock to visit Grace (Jane Fonda), the loosey-goosey mother she hasn't seen for 20 years.

Grace alienated her conservative daughter and son-in-law by selling marijuana at their wedding. She still resides in the capital of Woodstock nation, growing pot in the basement and partaking whenever she's not leading peace marches, raising chickens, and painting landscapes. She claims that she supports herself by bartering her paintings and ceramics, but it is understood that she has a cash crop.

Loose verging on the unhinged, Fonda is a stitch in this story of reconciliation that plays like a comic version of her greatest hit, On Golden Pond. It's an unexpected pleasure to watch the screen's most self-contained actress run off at the mouth and behave like Auntie Mame in tie-dye, exhorting her daughter and grandchildren to live! Live! Live! And leading an antiwar protest with the slogan "Peace is a faith-based initiative!"

Still, the film's parts are greater than its sum. The assumption of the screenplay by Joseph Muszynski and Christina Mengert is that difference of principle is just a dissonant prelude to harmonic convergence.

Thus the repressed can find common ground with the libertine, the vegan with the carnivore, and, of course, the grandmother with her timid grandkids, because the first rule of family is that grandparents and grandchildren are natural allies because they have a common enemy. The narrative doesn't build; rather it sags to its foregone conclusion.

Despite this, Fonda, Olsen (the gifted younger sib of Mary-Kate and Ashley), and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (as an untroubled troubadour/furniture maker attracted to the troubled Keener) radiate enough positive energy to light up a Las Vegas hotel. It's slight, but pleasurable fun.


Contact Carrie Rickey at carriedrickey@gmail.com. Read her at http://www.carrierickey.com.

Film Critic
0 comments
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
 
comments powered by Disqus
Also on Philly.com
letter icon Newsletter