"Misguided Family Lessons"
What You Need To Know:
PEACE, LOVE & MISUNDERSTANDING stars Jane Fonda as the New Age hippie grandmother who sells pot. The movie’s casual attitudes towards promiscuous sex, divorce, marijuana use, and the grandmother’s New Age pagan beliefs merit extreme caution. Though played more for laughs than propaganda, they make PEACE, LOVE & MISUNDERSTANDING annoying, though perhaps not abhorrent.
(RoRoRo, PaPa, PC, LL, SS, N, A, DDD, MM) Very strong Romantic worldview and messages with strong immoral, pagan undertones, including a depicted ceremony of “moon goddess” worship by grandmother character played mostly for laughs, plus some politically correct jabs at uptight daughter’s conservative politics, but daughter retains her beliefs until the end though she becomes less uptight visiting her hippie mother; 15 to 19 obscenities and profanities; no violence; strong sexual immorality includes implied fornication between college-aged girl and young man, grandmother discusses her past sexual exploits with rock stars, grandmother reveals that the man she tries to set her daughter up with is a past lover of her own as well, daughter learns about her mother and the man’s sexual past only after she has had offscreen sex with him, leading to arguments between mother and daughter, and grandmother also encourages birth control and condom use by her grandchildren, telling them it’s ok to fornicate with townspeople during their visit as long as they’re “protected”; grandmother is an artist who, in two scenes, is seen painting nude men, whose genitalia are not shown on camera but who are shown fully nude from behind and shirtless from the front; some alcohol use; pot-selling grandmother leads grandchildren into smoking marijuana with her against their mother’s wishes, while the mother is out of the house, as the film makes humorous light out of using the drug, but grandmother says no to any other drugs; grandmother makes a few gentle jokes at her daughter’s expense for being a Reagan fan and a conservative, but the daughter holds her views strongly and in the end still proudly possesses a book on Reagan, and though the depiction of a pagan “moon goddess” worship ceremony the grandmother leads for other hippie women is portrayed as silly rather than serious, it’s still portrayed as an endearing character quirk by the grandmother rather than the seriously misguided pagan behavior it represents.
PEACE, LOVE & MISUNDERSTANDING is a lightweight but misguided comedy with weak jokes and flimsy plot structure detracting from a zesty performance by Jane Fonda. Fonda plays an old hippie trying to work out her relationships with her daughter and grandkids over the course of two weeks. The movie has a highly Romantic worldview with strong pagan tones.
Directed listlessly by veteran Bruce Beresford (DRIVING MISS DAISY and EVELYN), the story depicts what happens when the husband of a middle-aged woman (Catherine Keener), asks for a divorce. Diane promptly decides to take their teenage/college-aged children to her mother (Fonda) in Woodstock, New York, despite the fact she’s conservative and her mom is an old, unreformed hippie.
Over the course of two weeks, Diane falls in love with a new man, Jude. She then learns he used to be her mom’s boyfriend. Meanwhile, her two children engage in their first attempts at love and sex while learning how to smoke marijuana with their grandmother. This leads to the only real conflict in the movie, which is woefully under-written, mostly unfunny, and often uninteresting, even from a secular perspective.
The movie’s casual attitudes towards promiscuous sex, divorce, marijuana use, and the grandmother’s New Age pagan beliefs merit extreme caution. Though played more for laughs than propaganda, they make PEACE, LOVE & MISUNDERSTANDING more annoying than abhorrent.
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