Sunday, 14 July 2013


“Parenthood...It’s about guiding the next generation, and forgiving the last.” - Peter Krause

A difference in values and attitudes between one generation and another has been called the generation gap. This creates a lack of communication and understanding between parents and children, especially, which can lead to various problems and can cause a great deal of strife. Numerous films have dealt with this theme and the film we watched at the weekend is a typical example of this genre. It can even be classed as a “chick-flick” as it deals with mother-daughter relationships in particular and explores the changing views, attitudes and mind-set of women from the 1960s to the present time.

The film is Bruce Beresford’s 2011 comedy-drama “Peace, Love, & Misunderstandingstarring Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener, Nat Wolff, Elizabeth Olsen and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The film is set in Woodstock and makes the most of the “Hippie” connection, but having said that, the place also seems to be quite a delightful one, with magnificent countryside, quaint township and interesting people. While the film is mainly about parent-child relationships and the generation gap, it is also about personal relationships and overcoming and resolving problems that people have when in a relationship or when they are just embarking on one.

The plot centres on the uptight, obsessive-compulsive lawyer Diane (Catherine Keener) who lives in New York City. As the film starts, Diane is told by her husband Mar (Kyle MacLachlan) that he wants a divorce. This shocks and hurts Diane, who quickly decides to escape the situation by taking her two teenager children and visit her estranged mother, Grace (Jane Fonda). Diane’s children are the geeky video camera addict, virginal Jake (Nat Wolff) and vegan, opinionated daughter Zoe (Elizabeth Olsen). Diane’s mother is still a hippie and lives in Woodstock. Mother and daughter have not seen each other for 20 years as Grace sold marijuana to Diane’s friends at Diane’s wedding, something which the daughter has never forgiven.  Diane and her children plan to only stay for a couple of days but events and people conspire to keep them there longer. Diane meets furniture craftsman Jude (Jeffrey Dean Morgan); Zoe is attracted to the local butcher Cole (Chace Crawford); and Jake falls for young Tara (Marissa O’Donnell). It’s a tortuous journey to understanding through misunderstanding, peace through strife and love through selfishness and petty hates.

The film is basically a feel-good romantic comedy with some “deep and meaningful” stuff thrown in (well it’s basically pretty shallow popular psychology). There are some funny moments throughout and the film is very polished with good performances by everyone. Bruce Beresford, an Australian film director, is at his best with period pieces and small-scale dramas. Considered one of Australia’s “New Wave” directors, he directs this film with a light touch and gets the most out of the plot, actors and locations, directing with a light touch. The soundtrack complements the action and location and the duet between Keener and Morgan at the town festival is quite cute.

Jane Fonda looks remarkably good for her 74 years of age in this movie and she enjoys playing the ageing hippy, giving it her best, including howling at the full moon in a goddess ritual and negotiating her way in her house amongst the wandering chickens that have run of the place. There is extensive reference to drug use (marijuana) in the film, which is to be expected given the plot. We enjoyed watching this lightweight comedy which required little cerebral activity and was to the brain what fast food is to the digestive system.


  1. I loved this movie, Nick. There was a fgood mix of humor and drama and all the actors played very well.

  2. I really liked this movie, Nick. A good mixture of comedy, drama and romance.

  3. I'll certainly give this one a go. I loved Catherine Keener in Trust - even made Clive Owen watchable as his wife. She plays family roles heartily.