Moving on is about Claire (Fonda) and Evelyn (Tomlin), attending the funeral of a dear friend from college named Joyce. Easy enough premise which, going in and meeting some characters, you know you’ll get the typical arc. There is an odd twist thrown in, but something needs to mesh.
Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda are legends in their craft. So, what happened here? They’ve worked together on “Grace and Frankie” for years, developing a chemistry one can’t deny. They’ve always been delightful and entertaining. It’s safe to say that their efforts in “Moving On” weren’t a complete waste of time, but I’m hinting at it.
The performances here, every one of them, were spot on. Malcolm McDowell is magnificent, and Richard Roundtree, as Ralph, gives charming banter and tantalization. Roundtree plays Claire’s ex-husband. McDowell plays Howard, the man laying his dear Joyce into the ground.
In front of everyone, a very late to the ceremony, Evelyn, lets Howard know that she has known Joyce longer than he and that she knew Joyce better and more intimately than he did. Her interruption isn’t received well, but she and Claire watch him eulogize his wife and speak after.
As they converse, it’s revealed that Claire plans on doing him in. Not disclosed to the audience, he had done something unspeakable to her in the past, something she had never gotten over. Since she’s near him again, she figures this is the time to give back.
“Moving On??” Hardly. At the wake, Evelyn makes known something about Joyce and herself. Most find this revelation extremely inappropriate, not believed by some, but not unexpected by others.
Still, the memorial service is probably not the moment to divulge private moments between two people to get back at a rat of a husband.
The movie is a revenge comedy at its best… yet sometimes at its worst. The modest people they sell themselves as don’t work with the theme, but it’s also what makes it ultimately makes it work in the end.
As far as the filmmakers go, what they think the audience still needs to catch on, moment one is why these women dislike Howard so much. This is a big mistake and one I need help understanding.
In the end, it was the structure that disappointed me. The plot contains several cleverly woven stories, but the follow-through needs to pay off. It has its humorous moments, and it has its dramatic moments, but if more time had been spent on the script, these actors would have made this film a hit. Instead, it leaves us wanting more, knowing that the only way to get it is to watch this on cable and see if the critics missed something. Believe me when I say don’t go to the theater and get your wallets pinched unless you want to see it for these actors and their chemistry. There’s plenty of that to go around.
In Phoenix, see it at:
Harkins Norterra 14
Superstition Springs 25
Prescott Valley Luxury 15
Harkins Queen Creek
**And many others to be added.
Director: Paul Weitz
Writer: Paul Weitz
Starring: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Malcolm McDowell, Richard Roundtree
Run Time: 1h 25m
Distributor: Roadside Attractions