Peace, Love & Misunderstanding (2011) Poster

User Reviews

Add a Review
37 ReviewsOrdered By: Helpfulness
7/10
Jane Fonda Rehippified
RolyRoly14 September 2011
Six things about Peace, Love & Misunderstanding:

1. Yes, Jeffrey Dean Morgan really does look like Javier Bardem. So much so that I turned to my wife at one point and said: "I didn't realize that Bardem could speak English so flawlessly; too bad the strain of keeping that American accent has stunted his acting ability".

2. Great to see Rosanna Arquette, albeit in a bit part.

3. Woodstock looks like a really beautiful place.

4. The kids in this movie really can act, especially Elizabeth Olsen. Best Supporting Actress nominee: you heard it here first.

5. I grew up in the late 60's and early 70's and, despite some quibbles about the way in which the leftover hippies in this movie are portrayed, I was impressed by the ability of the young writers to steer away from some of the more obvious stereotypes (not completely, mind you - I don't think there is really a Kesey-esque psychedelic school bus anymore outside the props departments of the Hollywood studios). Perhaps they got the tone right because of the input from one of the era's cultural icons.

6. Thereby bringing us to Jane Fonda who, unfortunately, was ill and couldn't attend the world premiere last night in Toronto. She is just great in this film, in a role that could easily have fallen into parody (even self-parody). Sure, an ex-hippie in her 70's probably wouldn't be as heavily made up, but this is a Hollywood movie and she is a movie star. She is at once charming, spacey, provocative and slightly raunchy.

All in all, a really nicely written and lovingly directed and acted film. I hope it does well.
54 out of 66 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
heartwarming and nostalgic
susanmfinn10 June 2012
This movie is splendid! I had forgotten that Jane Fonda is an excellent actress. The scenery, with the landscape and vintage "props", is a wonderful reminder of the years that birthed care for the earth, inclusivity, and questioning the status quo. The story profiles the inevitable misunderstandings between generations, and the life lessons we can teach one another. Perhaps this is a movie enjoyed more by women, but many young men participated in the hippie culture, and many of today's women and men were conceived in fields of wildflowers. Although the film profiles a narrow 10-to-15-year span in our history, it provides an intimate glimpse into that era, to be enjoyed by multiple generations. I hope to see it again soon, because there was simply too much to "take in" in one viewing.
29 out of 34 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
'Life is a journey. Family is a trip.'
gradyharp20 June 2012
It is not often that a film appears that looks like it may just be background noise for a lazy evening and turns our to be a jewel of a movie. But that is what happens when discovering PEACE, LOVE AND MISUNDERSTANDING. Written by first timers Christina Mengert and Joseph Muszynski who also are the film's producers, and directed with splendid sensitivity for character and detail by Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy, Breaker Morant, Tender Mercies, Bride of the Wind, Mao's Last Dance, etc), this is a story that so easily could have dropped of the edge of the cliff as a flop but instead becomes a transporting study of family, of coming of age, of second chances, and of fining self in this often absurd world in which we live. The cast, down to the most minuscule bit player, is outstanding: this film is likely to be a career boost for all involved.

Uptight obsessive compulsive lawyer Diane (Catherine Keener) lives in New York and at film's opening is told by her husband Mark that he wants a divorce. Diane decides to escape the disorganized trauma of that announcement by taking her two teenagers - geeky video camera addict and virginal Jake (Nat Wolff) and vegan daughter Zoe (Elizabeth Olsen) - to visit Diane's hippy mother Grace (Jane Fonda, in a brilliant performance) whom she hasn't seen for 20 years (Grace sold Marijuana to Diane's friends at Diane's wedding and has never been forgiven): Grace lives in Woodstock, a town that has retained its hippie flavor since the 1960s. Thinking they will only stay for a couple of days the visiting fractured family ends up staying on while Diane slowly appreciates the strange and wacky but intensely felt life her mother has embraced. Diane meets Jude (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) who slowly breaks down Diane's carefully controlled existence, Zoe is attracted to the local butcher Cole (Chace Crawford, definitely a talent to watch) and despite her loathing of slaughtering animals for food she gradually discovers similarities in the tow of them, and Jake falls for Tara (Marissa O'Donnell) - his first physical experience. Stir all those ingredients, add some hilarious evening of women howling at the full moon, some surprises in character development, and town full of retro-flowerchild status and the film just soars.

One of the many reasons this film works so well is the outstanding performance by the always beautiful and gifted Jane Fonda, but Keener, Morgan, Olsen, Crawford and Wolff are also in top form. For an American comedy that leaves the viewer feeling on top of the world, this movie has it all.

Grady Harp
29 out of 36 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Bus
julpll20 November 2011
Funny comment in the last user review. The bus in the movie was not a prop. It just happened to be there on the property where they were filming already. If you go to Woodstock, indeed in many towns in the Hudson Valley, you will still see quite a few psychedelic painted vehicles. Many of the extras used in the film live in the area. They all just dressed and acted normally. Woodstock is Woodstock! The writing and acting may have seemed exaggerated, but if anything, it was downplayed. Check out the motorcycle gang - they are really members of the local motorcycle club. I viewed the movie at the Woodstock film festival and it was fun to watch everyone that was in the film enjoy seeing themselves on the big screen.
42 out of 59 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Loved this wonderful comedy!
essex77729 June 2012
Yes, comedy! It's a refreshing look at the culture of the 60's and the cynicism of those who look back and try to make sense of all the facets of American society that were called into question during the period. The facets still exist! Out of it comes a funny portrayal of what the confusion/clarity looked like (looks like) as people worked it out, tried to love one another, and made mistakes, as only humans can...with great intentions all firing at once. Congratulations to the director, the cast, the writers, for this delightful romp. I laughed, learned humility, and relished the human comedy that we are, now, as we try to still (once again) Love over generational lines - adult to child, etc. God Bless you for the effort - I hope those who can relax, let go, without a toke, or with, can enjoy your message for what it is - human - very funny, sometimes just plain dumb. Please do not over intellectualize it, just enjoy the darn thing! This movie actually had a kind of "Doris Day" feel to it. Delightful and simple on the surface, but underneath, lots of some good messages about healing one another. I've read what some critics have said, and I wanna say, go to church, get over yourself, calm down, just enjoy the silliness of life, be reverent - be still. Kids do it and so should we, then we will hear each other!!!!
14 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Really good movie
jeyvars27 June 2015
This is a charming movie and could have been much better. Jane Fonda, of course, made it fabulous, both from an acting standpoint and just her very presence. She is amazing. Jeffery Dean Morgan stole every scene he was in, a really intelligent, kind actor. Catherine Keener is so perfectly cast, understated and vulnerable. Their relationship should have gotten more screen time and have been much more developed.

Marissa O'Donnell and Nat Wolff are both adorable here and their relationship together is very believable.

I did not like the role of Elizabeth Olsen. She is an interesting actress, but her dialogue and life experience seemed too mature for her and her relationship with the butcher felt beyond them. Their scenes together did not work and I found myself fast-forwarding through them the second time I watched it.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Great Movie
Lori Denise20 June 2012
This is a really great movie.

I cannot understand why anyone would say otherwise because there is not a dull moment in this movie as it has a bit of everything, from laughing to crying because the actors are able to have you feel what they are portraying.

It is a movie about accepting others for who they are and most importantly it is about forgiveness and learning to enjoy life.

I must add what wonderful acting there is from all of the entire crew. Anytime a movie can pull you in to the point of being able to feel their emotions then you know that they have done a great job.

Jane Fonda is just terrific. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was as amazing as he always is. I have to add how cute Chance Crawford is.

It is a great reminder that sometimes we all need to slow down and take a look around us and just enjoy the moment we are in.
10 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Excellent Movie
am_creative24 June 2012
Kudos to Bruce Beresford for making a really great film with heart and soul. All the cast are amazing - especially Jane Fonda as the grandmother, she really pops in this one. Chase Crawford is hot and homegrown, as is the Javier Bardem - look a like - Jeffrey Dean Morgan. We'd like to see more of him. Catherine Keener is believable as the uptight attorney. I felt a little cheated that Patricia Arquette was not in more scenes, one can only surmise she hit the cutting room floor. Loved seeing the Woodstock locals and the location used as characters. I was in the story for the complete ride. Timeless story. A must see. Why is it only in one theater here in New York?
14 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Loved it - Chick Flick
tammyanddiamond23 June 2012
I have watched it twice in the last 24 hours with sister. We both loved it and feel it is the next Steel Magnolias. Hubby even tolerated it and we heard him chuckle a few times. I should have been at Woodstock instead of Joplin MO and born way too late! Jane Fonda's role was the mother i wished I had. A pot-dealing hippie type that was so believable. Her uptight daughter, NYC attorney played by Catherine Keener was great as well. The children's roles were sweet and had just enough sibling rivalry that it was real if not a bit too sweet. The guys in the film were all hot and made you want to take them home for yourself, even though both are too young for me! giggle giggle!
10 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
A Lesson in Tolerance
JLRMovieReviews19 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
As they say in the film "Clueless," a lesson in tolerance is always good, even when it comes out of nowhere. If for no other reason, that's why I like this movie, which stars Jane Fonda as a hippie mother, who acts like she's still in the 1960s and 1970s, and Catherine Keener as her conservative daughter, who comes home with her daughter, as she and her husband are in the midst of a divorce. In trying to relate with each other and trying to find out why they drifted apart, Jane and Catherine learn things about themselves and in the process become better people...hopefully. Sounds like a hallmark movie, right? Well, this does have kind of an attitude and a sense of humor about it, with a hippie guy that Jane used to sleep with and who befriends Catherine. With the granddaughter finding a hot guy to keep her attentions, there's love and romance in the air for all. Despite the fact this film has earned somewhat of a lame reputation, I thoroughly appreciated its laid-back approach to being yourself and learning to accept the eccentricities of others. No one's perfect. The movie's charm and good performances manage to overcome any clichés it may have and you leave the film upbeat with a positive outlook on life and seeing the best of those around you. At least I did. I hope you will too.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
a strong cast in a relaxing movie
dragokin23 September 2012
If you lack motivation or simply are looking for relaxation, you'll like Peace, Love & Misunderstanding. There is nothing groundbreaking in it, nevertheless, the cast delivers an excellent performance. It goes to the extent that even the actors that might annoy you don't bother you throughout the movie.

There is a lot of stereotyping here, but i didn't expect anything else from a romantic comedy involving hippies in Woodstock in the year 2011. Jane Fonda looks like a grandma every teenager would love to have, adorable despite all the escapades. She was the only reason i saw Peace, Love & Misunderstanding and i liked the way Barbarella had aged...
7 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
"Sweet"
dragora11623 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
A beautifully written film. Very well-cast. Beautifully acted. And sometimes it's nice, and necessary, to juxtapose life's observations with concrete examples.

I don't know if I'm giving anything away, but here goes:

Very 'put-together' husband asks very 'put-together' wife for a divorce. After wife's initial barb, her first reaction is: I'm taking the kids to Mom's. Natural, "I'm going to my mother's with the kids!" Sounds normal, right? We learn very quickly, there are issues between wife and Mom. This is where the film's strength lies. Even though she has deliberately stayed away for years, instinct has kicked in, against all intellect, and she needs to go back to where her issues took root. All the necessary characters are there to guide each person through their journey of discovery and road to self-awareness. But, the subtleties are there as well.

Superb acting nods to Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener, & Jeffrey Dean Morgan as usual. A couple of brilliant small parts for Rosanna Arquette and Joyce Van Patten. But, also, HUGE kudos to Elizabeth Olsen & Nat Wolff for outstanding performances (whether they receive recognition from awards shows, or not), this film would not have succeeded without them.
8 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
cute but not real
solo annie8 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
It's a trippy little hippie film about people finding their way back, but only if you've left and can finance up and leaving your life. Most of us can't and in that respect, it annoyed me. But taken just for entertainment, it's a pleasant way to pass 96 minutes. Jane Fonda was out of place and seemed awkward. Scenes were fragmented and not connected so you don't really get the family vibe or shift. I believe you are supposed to have 'been there, done that' and just know how a family breaks up and the rich Mom just takes the kids to Woodstock and they all fall in love and live happily ever after. Favorite scene was Grandma (Jane Fonda)describing the Grateful Dead concert and the "rain" songs.
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
2/10
Peace, Love and Minsunderstanding is a comedy that does not use the gifts it has.
dalydj-918-25517515 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
"Catherine Keener is Jane Fonda's daughter who comes with children to visit and ends up changing her life in some way" Bruce Beresford has made some movies over the years that have been well liked (Best Picture winning Driving Miss Daisy), but with his film this year he makes a horrible film with no saving elements to this film about unlikeable underwhelming characters who cannot help but complain about everything it their life. Catherine Keenner plays Diane a new york lawyer who when her husband asks for a divorce decides to Visit her mother Grace (Jane Fonda) in Woodstock bring along her two children Zoe (Elizabeth Olsen) the intelligent vegetarian and Cole (Nat Wolff) the wannabee filmmaker, but when they get to Woodstock they quickly find out Grandma is not one normal person but a woman who sells drugs, paints naked people and ruins her daughter's life.

The story introduces us to other characters like love interests for three people from New York, Jude (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) for Diane, Cole (Chace Crawford) for Zoe and Tara (Marissa O'Donnell). There are many other characters who are a part of this hippie tribe of people but these seven people seem to be the main characters of the film. This film fails first on setting up the relationships between the main characters for example after some fights from the couples after some annoying song of forgiveness plays they get straight back together which is a failure on the writers part first.

The performances are so bad because the actor's are not given much to do as the script makes all the characters unlikeable and the same type of people. Sure Fonda and Keener look like a mother daughter combo but they do not do much but stand there and say the words that were written for them and that's really the positive because the negative is too much to talk about. Elizabeth Olsen has been a breakout lately but the character of Zoe is not a good girl as she thinks too high of herself saying to many and thinking she is the best. The son is even worse as he try's to be sweet and lovable but to me he came off as boring and a nothing role which is also the way I felt about every other character in the film, even though the script try's to use them more then I wish the didn't.

This was not an enjoyable film and the talents of Keener, Fonda and Olsen are wasted as they are given nothing roles in a film not worth you time or effort. Badly written and directed this film was one of the worst I've seen this year so far.

MOVIE GRADE: F (MVP: Jane Fonda)
5 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
4/10
Strong Actresses Wasted in a Predictable Pile of Family Value Clichés
Ed Uyeshima25 June 2012
It does seem a shame to cast three generations of compelling actresses as a dysfunctional family and then let them drown in a sea of tired character clichés and pop psychology babble. But that's exactly what happens in director Bruce Beresford's 2012 dramedy, a touchy-feely, throwaway vehicle for Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener, and Elizabeth Olsen ("Martha Marcy May Marlene"), who all try hard to rise above the broad brushstrokes that mark the superficial script by first-time screenwriters Joseph Muszynski and Christina Mengert. There isn't a single surprise that would make anyone reconsider the trite nature of the cross-generational conflict on display here, and Beresford doesn't help matters by the film's odd pacing where the basic set-up is handled in the first three minutes and then has characters go through character transformations in the most formulaic manner.

The story begins as Diane, an uptight Manhattan lawyer, is suddenly informed by her husband that he wants a divorce. Instead of discussing the matter, she packs up her two teenaged children – self-righteous vegan daughter Zoe and aspiring filmmaker son Jake – and visits her mother Grace up in Woodstock even though they haven't spoken in twenty years. Of course, Grace is Diane's exact opposite, a free spirit hippie artist, a political rabble-rouser and a successful pot dealer, so naturally conflict ensues immediately. While the perennially glum Diane glares judgmentally at Grace, both Diane and Zoe, of course, find love with local men who are their polar opposites - Diane with a laid-back carpenter and singer named Jude, Zoe with a sensitive butcher named Cole. In the meantime, Jake annoyingly videotapes life in Woodstock while crushing on a girl who works in a local coffee shop.

All the while, grandma Grace espouses spiritual bromides to everyone about how they need to live their lives to the fullest. It's a pleasure to see the 74-year-old Fonda look fit and loose-limbed as Grace even though I was getting the nagging sense she should be doing a lot more than play this dotty caricature. Playing against type, Keener seems particularly one-note as the mostly dour Diane, and some of her natural looseness as an actress would have helped bring more dimension to the role. Current indie "it girl" Olsen shows welcome moments of vulnerability that are severely blunted by Zoe's generally insufferable nature. Jeffrey Dean Morgan ("P.S. I Love You") appears to be specializing in rebound love interests, and he plays the emotionally accessible Jude with easy charm. Chace Crawford ("Gossip Girl") seems to be playing a younger version of the same male stereotype as Cole inexplicably entranced by Zoe.

Nat Wolff ("The Naked Brothers Band") provides mostly comic relief as hopelessly naïve Jake. I'm not sure why Rosanna Arquette is in the film since she's given next to nothing to do. The cinematography by Andre Fleuren nicely captures the bucolic landscape of upstate New York, but I found the original music by Spencer David Hutchings more intrusive than evocative. For his part, Beresford looks to be resuscitating key moments from Fonda's own film of parental alienation, "On Golden Pond", but a better story model would have been Lisa Cholodenko's "The Kids Are All Right" which lent layers of emotional complexity to a family unit challenged by a lack of forgiveness. After all, outside of this formulaic film, life just isn't as groovy as Grace would have you believe.
6 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
3/10
Fonda only gem in this waste
sfiver25 December 2012
What is the point of this self-absorbed production? I guess it's mom's inability to face reality. The story drags and drags and drags...uh, what? Oh, yeah, Mom decides to visit her past by bringing her uppie-ish Manhattan trained teenagers to experience the Woodstock generation's deep convictions to peace and love. A premise this mother has spent her adult life rejecting. Predictable every moment.

Jane Fonda as one reviewer here commented never experienced the Woodstock moment although she was a most prominent protester against the USA-Vietnam police action. Fonda is good and is worth watching. In fact all the performers are good. Too bad we don't get more of Kyle McLachlan.
4 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
5/10
Silly, slapped together and just about boring. What a waste.
Robert W.23 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This film redefines ho-hum. It seems to be the sort of script that a person who thinks they want to be a writer would come up with. The characters are achingly two dimensional and when they're not that, they are so stereotypical it borderlines awful. Even the cast (which is exceptional) seems to be bored with the characters they play. I don't mind when a film is formulaic in the genre but sometimes you have to find your footing to make yourself at least a little bit unique and this doesn't even try. The worst part perhaps is that the great climatic moment when everything is made clear and the family realizes their differences and their strengths makes no sense. The kid's film that brings them altogether is not even remotely good and will leave you scratching your head. The chemistry between all the major players is lack luster at best and even that is being generous. Is it a terrible movie? Well, its not the worst I've seen but that is probably only because of the solid cast doing what they can with an awful script.

Jane Fonda made a resurgence in the early 2000's with films I actually loved like Monster-in-Law and Georgia Rules. First of all Fonda looks fantastic and she could probably really do a lot with a character like this. A hippie woman still living life to the fullest but has alienated her daughter because of her free spirited ways. Instead the character is boring and so typical. What a shame. I'm not a huge fan of Catherine Keener, I always find her a little dry but she's like a desert in this film. She has the emotional range of a tree trunk. I'm not sure she even shows any emotion and she delivers her lines in a monotone. The idea that her and Fonda are mother and daughter comes across as a joke and you won't believe it for a minute. Elizabeth Olsen who stunned audiences in Martha Marcy Mae Marlene and has done well in other films like Silent House, should watch her roles more closely. She is actually the one character I almost liked but realistically the script and the bad direction drags her down to. She also has the most chemistry with Chace Crawford but even that is just a little bit. Nat Wolff as the son who should be a major player but a complete disappointment. He seems like he's supposed to be college age but he behaves like an angsty coming of age twelve year old. Jeffrey Dean Morgan who I love is reduced to a supporting supporting love interest who hardly has any screen time except for one actually enjoyable and cute scene when him and Keener sing together.

I can literally hardly believe this was directed by Australian director Bruce Beresford who has years and years of experience and has done some great films. I don't know how this one was such a miss. Then again on the surface it looks like all the pieces are in place and then the film barely sputters along until it finally ends. It is of no surprise to me that co-writers Joseph Muszynski and Christina Mengert have virtually no credits to their names. It never surprises me when I see a film like this. I often wonder how big names get forced into projects like this because then I think everyone gives about 20% and it shows in the final project. There isn't any reason to see this unless you're truly a die hard Fonda fan. It is truly the definition of sub-par ho-hum entertainment. 5/10
4 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
A real good time!
barbicane33338 August 2012
Two words describe this movie: inspired filmmaking. There is a little sadness, a lot of happiness and laughs galore. There is a heaping helping of romance with changing attitudes and roller coaster emotional twists. The friend who saw it with me said, "Jane Fonda is back!" He's right. She is. She is a laugh riot throughout.

In Peace, Love and Misunderstanding, director Bruce Beresford has re-created the '60s with a broad brush. It's not hard to believe that the eccentric characters depicted in the movie still inhabit the small towns of upstate New York, where most of the movie takes place. In fact, I know one "aging hippie" who does.

Besides the fun plot, viewers are treated to marvelous cinematography that highlights the beauty of the area. Topping that off, various feathered and hoofed creatures make cameo appearances. Beresford was lucky to capture them on film. If I didn't know better, I'd think they were following his direction. The music is wonderful, too.

This is a film the whole family (let's say 12 and up) can enjoy. You'll be glad you saw it.
4 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Another Look at the Hippie Daze
dbrown1793-325-13505021 June 2012
The hippies might be the only generation in history that embarrassed both their parents AND their children. It is the latter relationship that comes into play in "Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding", a predictable but enjoyable romp that might liberate everyone's Inner Freak. After 20 years of separation, Diane (Catherine Keener), a cold, strait-laced New York City lawyer who is abruptly divorced by her husband, reunites with her mother Grace (Jane Fonda) the ultimate, Woodstock, '60's, pot-smoking, tie-dye wearing free spirit. Diane also brings along her two teenage children, Zoë (an impressive Elisabeth Olson) and Jake who both think Granny is pretty cool. The relationships they all build forms the plot line framed by the nostalgia for Woodstock Nation. Like the earlier "Wanderlust", this film posits that as annoying, reckless and self-absorbed as they were, the hippies might have been on to something. They wanted to create a colorful, free, happy world and as Elvis Costello once questioned, what's so funny about peace, love and understanding?
5 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
Diana you're still in our hearts
Raul Faust3 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Well, I'm much aware that small movie productions usually have a lack of an entertaining plot, and fortunately, "Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding" isn't the case. From the get go, the plot is really fast paced, with plausible situations happening for most of the time. However, I may be a little suspicious to talk about it; I'm about to finish law school and I've always enjoyed the hippie culture, so I obviously liked both characters-- the hippie herself and the lawyer. This film is inspiring, and sometimes effectively causes to remember us how connected we are with nature and how we should consider it as our primal home. The scene in which the grandma states she doesn't name animals because they're not her children, but nature's, is really well thought and provocative for a reflection. The acting isn't THAT professional-- with exception of Jane Fonda's--, but it helps bringing reality to the flick. It's a good option for a family reunion, mainly if your family is one of those that fight for no reason and have a hard time on recognizing each other's qualities. Beautiful movie anyways.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
4/10
Real hippie characters don't aren't any more endearing in a dysfunctional family dramedy
napierslogs14 January 2013
I have never been one for the hippie lifestyle, and yet "Peace, Love and Misunderstanding" tries to convince its audience that free loving, loose morals and zero financial security can be better for the soul and family relations than a job, responsibility and a house in the city. Diane (Catherine Keener), single after being divorced from her husband, moves her two teenagers to Woodstock, just for the weekend, to live with her hippie mother Grace (Jane Fonda).

She thinks the country will be good for them but is wary of her mother's unorthodox ways. So was I. The film really isn't trying to preach, which is good, but it is trying to be yet another dysfunctional family dramedy, which is not good. The weekend turns into a week and then a summer, because, surprise, Diane finds solace and romance in the Woodstock music and the quirkiness of a small town.

The hippie characters were much more real than just stereotypical caricatures probably because actual townsfolk were a majority of the bit-players. There was way more care put into the writing of the supporting characters than you would usually find in a similar Hollywood production. The "hippie-ness" of it all was less extreme, definitely toned down, but it still doesn't mean that they can be emotive and deserving of our sympathies and empathies, let alone be the subject of a dysfunctional family dramedy (not that anybody should be).

The supporting characters that I did like were Diane's two teenage kids, Jake (Nat Wolff) and Zoe (Elizabeth Olsen). Jake is a geeky, aspiring filmmaker, insecure and inexperienced around girls. His small coming-of- age steps seemed natural and very endearing. Zoe is a more self-assured, independent 16 year-old, but seems to be following in her grandmother's footsteps, more than her mother's, and one starts questioning how well she knows herself. She also has great chemistry with her love interest, Cole (Chace Crawford). Starting to become the norm, Olsen was the best of the cast.

The cast also includes Jane Fonda and the usually underrated Catherine Keener, but their selfish, grating characters with Fonda's inconsistency and Keener's blandness is what costs "Peace, Love and Misunderstanding" a shot of at least being passable entertainment. It could have gotten another star or two if the kids were the leads.
3 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Hippies forever!
Lee Eisenberg23 December 2012
Long known for political activism, Jane Fonda finally gets to do it on screen in "Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding". The movie's point is that, while you might not see a lot of flower children, they still exist and they haven't abandoned their idealism. There's a good contrast between the mom's hippie lifestyle and the daughter's (Catherine Keener) straight-laced lifestyle. As can be expected, the movie also has some great music (hell, it's set in Woodstock, NY).

Long story short, the '60s will never die. Maybe the movie is a little over-idealistic, but everything else makes up for that. It's just a fun movie, and definitely one that I recommend.
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
3/10
As High as the Tall Plant of Cannabis.
Fallen Eye27 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
So, hubby decides to divorce wifey. Wifey then goes to her mother's place for vacation with her son and daughter and on the same day, the exact same day; son meets girl, daughter meets boy and mother is "met" by man.

Some days later in the movie, again, on the same day... Mother has sex with man, daughter has sex with boy and son makes out with girl.

Later in the movie, mother and kids move into mommy's/grandmommy's house, where, all three love interests are available and oh so ready and willing to be of some assistance.

Meanwhile, boy kills deer in front of daughter and completely disregards her feelings, then he later tells her that's her problem. She then, instead of forgiving him, which she still shouldn't do, because she is not wrong, rather, introspects and faults herself.

While again meanwhile, man slept with the mother of the mother; aka grandmama, and didn't make this known (actually he didn't tell, she found out; thus, he continually lied) until he slept with the mother of the kids. He then accuses mother of always fighting with everyone. Mother then does exactly what her daughter did. Looks within, blames herself pretty much, and seemingly takes man back.

Mother, son and daughter with all their love interests, whom they all acquainted, the same day, then live happily ever after.

Mmmkay, sure.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Peace and love, a Christian's review
dbrayshaw21 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Although I was alive during the hippie invasion, at that time, I was in survival mode due to various events. Therefore, the flower child culture did not penetrate my thinking. Only as much as the Vietnam Era was brought to me via the media was I conscious of that lifestyle.

In '69, I dropped out of school, enlisted in the military, and ended up in the Middle East. It was there that I got a sampling of a weed induced head, but mixed with the tunes I most loved, within traditional country music and jazz, the psychedelic lifestyle still didn't emerge.

In '72, I experienced an amazing conversion to Christianity through which I learned to love the absolute truths found in Scripture. That love challenged me to be obedient to a godly moral code. Despite how nice something may feel, it still can be immoral behavior.

Grace's pot smoking, I have no trouble with as I am a proponent of its use, especially for health reasons, Also after having performed for decades as a bass player/singer in countless country bars, I view alcohol as being more potentially life threatening.

Within this film exists a kind of coming-of-age theme, as well as one that insists that peace and love are the products of sex, the latter being the message that is, to me, off putting. Another theme, one that best resonates with me, is the release of burden, a birth of freedom through a refusal to hold onto hurts. It is about our responsibility to forgive those who trespass against us.

However, freedom must have mixed with it, in order to be genuine, godly virtue, not some whimsical identification with nature that is self-defining, as Grace's unspecified spiritual connection to whomever or whatever. To love oneself, one must know how to die to oneself, to set aside every weight that is so easily besetting and to build into one's life a truly stabilizing foundation based on righteous principles.

In this film, the laying aside of a former bad relationship to replace it with "free love" is a call to disenchantment and disillusionment. Okay, so Grace seems free, but she endorses sex whenever, with whomever, and encourages it without hesitation.

There is nothing mentioned about what God says regarding fornication, or how our lives ought to be centered around a love for Jesus that helps us to strive against unrighteousness. Instead, we are called to let go of all restraint. A bad mistake.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
Interesting But Unremarkable
bigverybadtom18 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The movie reminded me of a cartoon about a well-dressed Yuppie walking from his disappointed hippie parents' home. Indeed, that is actually the premise of the movie, about a woman lawyer finding her husband wanting to divorce her, so she takes her teenage children for the weekend to Woodstock, New York to see her mother, a hippie whom she hasn't seen in 20 years. The reunion is less awkward than expected, but there are still unresolved issues between mother and daughter, and the kids include a son who uses a video camera to fulfill his dream of being a movie maker a la Warner Herzog, as well as a stuck-up intellectual vegetarian daughter.

Once you see the hippie culture still alive in Woodstock, the rest of the movie is basically a dysfunctional family story, how mother, grandmother, and the teenage kids still conflict, and how they all deal with the quirky locals of Woodstock, not all of whom are hippies. The movie philosophizes but has no deep meaning or surprises, but is still mildly entertaining.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
loading
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews