Life is a journey, but Fonda tripped out.
Jane Fonda's appearance in "Peace, Love & Misunderstanding" is only her third in a movie in the past 20 years. She plays a flower power granny in Woodstock, N.Y., who serves as a combination earth mother and fertility goddess. She also sells pot on the side.
What was Fonda thinking?
Fonda's participation is being promoted as a gently satiric take-off on her public persona in her progressive 1960s heyday, but what comes across is something else. It's more like a lampooning of what once made Fonda one of the most forceful actresses in America before she embarked on her self-imposed hiatus. Aren't there any roles more challenging for her, now that she's back, than this tie-dyed cartoon?
Grace (Fonda) has been rebuffed by her estranged Manhattanite daughter Diane (Catherine Keener) ever since, 20 years ago, Mom was caught dealing grass at Diane's wedding. Twenty years may seem like a long time for a freeze-out given the nature of the offense, but this is only one of the film's many implausibilities. Another is that, in all this time, Grace has never set eyes on Diane's two teenage children, Zoe (Elizabeth Olsen, better than her material) and Jake (Nat Wolff).
Diane's impending divorce is the occasion for a reunion as improbable as it is inevitable. Showing up at Grace's ramshackle homestead with her brood, Diane – whom Grace insists on calling Diana, like the goddess of the hunt – immediately settles into the old recriminations. But it's clear that she, not Grace, is the one in need of succor, which soon arrives right on cue in the form of a guitar-strumming carpenter named Jude (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).