Release date: June 8, 2012 (ltd.) VOD, June 15, 2012
Directed by: Bruce Beresford
Starring: Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener, Elizabeth Olsen, Chace Crawford
More akin to a Jane Fonda vanity project than an actual narrative, Peace, Love & Misunderstanding is so bland that even such schmaltzy femme-oriented cable networks as Lifetime TV might dismiss it for a decided lack of bite.
Director Bruce Beresford has come a long way from such previous fine works as Breaker Morant, Tender Mercies and Driving Miss Daisy. It’s hard to fathom why he decided to take on this woefully flat look at tri-generational conflicts – or lack thereof – poorly written by Christina Mengert and Joseph Muszynski. Set in New York State’s Hudson Valley, the film is more of a simple valentine to those Woodstock hippies still making protest signs and strumming 1969′s greatest hits on their acoustic guitars than an incisive look at mother/daughter misfires.
Moments before haughty guests arrive for a dinner party in her upscale Manhattan digs, Catherine Keener’s Diane gets a rude shock from her husband (Kyle MacLachan’s Mark), who brusquely states that he’s divorcing her. She packs a bag and with her two offspring in tow (Elizabeth Olsen’s bookish Zoe and Nat Wolff’s camera-crazed Jake), she runs off to visit her hippie-dippie mother (Fonda’s Grace) in Woodstock. Five minutes into the film, the plot loses credibility. Suddenly, Diane decides to lift a 20-year ban? One that she initially imposed when her mother sold a few baggies of marijuana to some of the guests at Diane’s wedding? Surely the 20-year punishment didn’t fit the crime, particularly when imposed by an intelligent, rational lawyer. Added to the fact that Diane’s sweet, sensitive kids, now grown, had never bothered to drive the two hours’ distance to meet their maternal grandmother themselves? You’d think Fonda’s Grace had done something unforgiveable … maybe, say, posed for a picture on an anti-aircraft gun in Hanoi.
[For the full review on doddle, along with Gadette's tie-dyed rating, please click here]