Posted on March 16, 2023 at 5:50 pmB +
|Lowest Recommended Age:
|Mature High Schooler
|Rated R for language
Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are back for the second time in two months, following “80 for Brady,” and if there is ever a Jane and Lily movie-of-the-month club I will be the first to sign up. The screenplay of “Moving On” is not up to their level, but hardly anything is. Despite the unevenness of tone and some sags in the narrative, the two of them are a delight and their way with a line is so irresistible.
Claire (Fonda, looking gorgeous in white hair) and Evelyn (Tomlin looking like an aging flower child) were close friends in college but have been estranged. They meet at the funeral of another college friend. Claire announces to the friend’s mourning widower, Howard (Malcolm McDowell) that, now that her friend is dead and cannot be hurt by it, she intends to kill him. That weekend. And her next step is to try to reconcile with Evelyn to bring her on as an accomplice. The rest of the film takes place over the next few days, as we learn something about the past that separated the friends, what they have been doing since, how their various plans to carry off this homicide develop, and spend time on another reunion. Claire’s ex-husband Ralph also attends the funeral, and he is played by Richard (“Shaft”) Roundtree, so you know there will be some romantic sparks.
Speaking of reunions, this film reunites Tomlin with Paul Weitz, the writer/director of her underseen film “Grandma.” That film did a better job of juggling a very serious theme, a teenager asking her grandmother for help getting money for an abortion, with drama (there is also a complicated reunion of a formerly married couple) and some dark humor. This one sets a tone at the beginning that, even with the threat of murder, is off-kilter with the trauma of what happens later.
But on the way there, we get the truly enjoyable performances of two veterans at the top of their game, who, after seven seasons of “Grace and Frankie” are exquisitely attuned at bringing out the best in each other. Evelyn, a retired cellist in an assisted living facility, has most of the best lines and Fonda has most of the character work, and both are never less than sublime.
Parents should know that this movie has very mature material including the plotting of a murder, with references to rape. There are sexual references and a non-explicit sexual situation. Characters use strong language and drink alcohol.
Family discussion: Why didn’t Claire tell Ralph what happened at the time? Why didn’t Evelyn tell Claire the truth? What advice would you give Claire?
If you like this, try: “9 to 5,” “Grace and Frankie,” and “80 for Brady”