Book Club

Book Club is a present-day check-in of life as an older woman in 2018. Four female friends of “retirement age” meet regularly at their own private book club, taking turns to select a book for discussion. Vivian (Jane Fonda) encourages them to study “Fifty Shades of Grey”. Thus, begins a diet of mixed reactions to the book which inspires or encourages each of them to rediscover their “mojo”. This movie had the potential to explore and expose this apparently mysterious type of individual, the media invisible sixty-plus (some may argue forty-plus) female of the species. It also had the potential to be very funny.

There has been a welcome increase in the number of films released and aimed at the more mature market. Whilst it is possible to find many examples of films that include people over the age of 55, there are not that many by comparison. Hollywood and the world media at large are enchanted by youthful looks. A more healthy and realistic approach to representation in all forms is a welcome relief to a diet of heroes, fast cars and bullets. Perhaps I am too reductionist, but you know what I mean.

Pleasantville 1998 (had more to say 20 years ago)

Granted there are some funny moments, but the movie fell short, still concluding that fulfilment is only found through a man. Whilst I might agree that a form of fulfilment comes through a deep relatonship (for billions of people) it is not true for all. It is evidently not the case that only a man can make anyone else “fulfilled”. Neither do most women have the economic advantages that certainly three of these four have. The character of Diane is arguably the most perplexing, her husband died relatively recently and her overly concerned daughters Jill (Silverstone) and Adrianne (Aselton) want to move her out of  her beautiful Santa Monica and into their own renovated slip-free basement in “Pleasantville” because they fear she is too frail.. which stretches belief for many reasons. It is Diane that is swept off her feet by the alluring, just happens to be fabulously wealthy, Mitchell…. The portrayal of such neurotic daughters and their incredulity about their mother do not aid the female cause and are utterly unnecessary within the story.

LA LA Land

It’s not simply women that are stereo-typed. Most of us men don’t own a plane, don’t look like Don Johnson (Arthur) or Andy Garcia (Mitchell) either, and most of us cannot compensate by being half-decent mechanics or even vaguely passable dancers. Perhaps its my gender bias the felt that the male story-line crisis was more thoughtful. That said, I frankly did not understand the plot purpose of Federal Judge Sharon’s ex-husband Tom (Ed Begley who is 69) announcing his engagement to Cheryl (Mircea Monroe who is 36) whilst celebrating their son’s engagement.  Surely this was a set up for comedic gags that never materialised.

The truth is that this is a very LA centric group of women. There are 4 good actresses – Diane Keaton (72) plays Diane, Jane Fonda (Vivian) is 80, Candice Bergen (Sharon) is 72 and Mary Steenburgen (Carol) is 65. Yet all still must conform to the Hollywood image in a way that their male counterparts simply do not. This movie did nothing other than play it safe.

Every Stage

What on earth can we apply to financial planning? … well, for starters, life is for living and anything alive changes, be that through personal growth, death, sickness, divorce or any number of reasons. We can plan so much, hopefully few clients reach retirement and have a crisis of identity, but there is no sugar-coating the reality that this is a major life adjustment. In practice, most would be wise to consider the transition into retirement is likely to take adjustment – a 2 year adjustment would not seem unreasonable.

We can certainly help and plan for financial independence and the maintenance of dignity, by having sufficient resources or sufficient adjustments to lifestyle. These are hard truths, we are all aging, no amount of cosmetic surgery can alter the reality, merely the appearance of it. The greatest value is surely ensuring that you are living life on your own terms whenever possible. A great financial plan will provide you with the structure and financial architecture to ensure yours come to fruition. Money can offer freedom, but some will never live it.

Its fine as a “Rom-com” but falls way short of an address to Hollywood in the age of #MeToo, which is a pity. Here’s the trailer, but be warned – if you watch it, you have seen the film.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

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