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Jane Fonda goes hippie for “Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding”

HollywoodNews.com: Jane Fonda was sorry to miss the Toronto Film Festival premiere of her new movie, “Peace, Love and Misunderstanding.” She’s been suffering from a “persistent bug” for a few days and couldn’t fly to Toronto from Los Angeles. Too bad because Jane also missed the great reception the Bruce Beresford directed comedy had at Roy Thomson Hall. It’s nice when all the laughs are in the right place.

Fonda’s Grace plays the hippie dippy artist mother of straight arrow Diane. They haven’t seen each other in 20 years–not since Diane had Grace arrested at her wedding for selling dope to the guests. Now Diane’s husband has left her, so she brings her two kids (Elizabeth Olsen, Nat Wolff) to Grace’s artist retreat in Woodstock, New York.

This is the kind of film where you expect cliches to abound. But Beresford and the screenwriters make all the right moves. The film has a light touch as conflicts unfold and are addressed but not necessarily resolved. While Diane’s position seems like a gross overreaction to her mother, the estrangement doesn’t seem so far fetched.

Fonda is the most economical of actors, which is why she has two Oscars. Grace could have been a broad joke. But Fonda imbues her warmth and dignity. She simply lives on her own track and means no one harm. She’s a pot smoking and growing embracer of free love. What’s wrong with that?

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