THE CEMETERY CLUB is the depressing story of three Jewish, middle-aged women struggling to cope with life following the death of their spouses. Despite its humanistic plea to “face life unafraid,” the movie digs its own grave with fornication, condom use and a superficial Judaism that makes no difference in the characters’ lives. The movie begins with widows Ester, Doris and Lucille Rubin making their ritual pilgrimage to the cemetery. The ladies overhear Ben Katz yelling at the groundskeeper about weeds growing over the tombstone of his deceased wife. Later, Ben and Ester begin dating. After knowing each other a short time, they check into a hotel and fornicate. Although Ester is unable to bear children (due to a hysterectomy), she and Ben protect themselves by using a condom. It seems odd (and perverse) that this orthodox Jewish, overly-cautious and fearful couple would sneak off to a hotel to sleep together.
If THE CEMETERY CLUB offered the hope and character of DRIVING MISS DAISY, it would beckon senior citizens into theaters. As it is, the movie’s deadly title, lackluster plot and somber subject matter will keep them away. Although THE CEMETERY CLUB contains a few good-natured moments, such as Doris and Lucille reconciling after an argument, and Ben teaching Ester to drive, they aren’t weighty enough to resurrect this mediocre film from an early grave.
(H, LL, V, SS, A/D, Ho, B, M) Humanistic worldview; 15 obscenities & 7 profanities (mostly exclamatory); fist fight & biting another's groin; bedroom scene, condom usage, implied fornication; intoxication; references to prayer, Jewish faith and traditional customs, & message of forgiveness; stealing, divorce, woman with multiple marriages, & illegally driving without license.