Reel Reviews | Peace, Love and Misunderstanding

by Tim Gordon

A woman dealing with the prospect of a painful divorce finds answers spending a week at her hippie mom’s Woodstock retreat in Peace, Love & Misunderstanding.

Diane (Catherine Keener) is a straight-arrow, coiled too-tight attorney who finds out that her husband, Mark (Kyle MacLachlan) suddenly announces he wants a divorce. Dazed, confused and angry, she grabs her two kids Zoe and Jake (Elizabeth Olsen and Nat Wolff) and heads to visit her long-forgotten mother, Grace (Jane Fonda). While the calendar says 2012, for Grace it’s still 1969 as she lives a hippie lifestyle in Woodstock.

Immediately, the differences between mother and daughter are apparent as Grace paints nudes, grows and sells weed and has livestock in the house. Diane, who had her mother arrested some years earlier, still harbors resentment toward her because she feels that Grace has never truly grown up into a responsible adult. Further complicating matters is that mother, daughter, and son all begin new friendships that bring the family together and help each come to grips with one another – along with Grace’s pearls of wisdom.

This is Fonda’s first movie since 2007’s Georgia Rule and it is very amusing to see the woman once known as “Hanoi Jane” playing a hippie. 30 years after she sold millions of fitness videos, the 74-year old Oscar winner looks gorgeous and is in rare form. Dispensing her own brand of Woodstockian philosophy, she warns her grandchildren that “if you use drugs, stay away from the brown ones – they’re the ones that killed Janis and Jimi!” Olsen and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Watchman and Magic City) both give solid performances with him as the man who gives Diane hope that she can lower her guard and love again. Fonda’s free-spirited performance makes this a must-see!

Grade: B+