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 Michael Bergeron
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Peace, Love & Misunderstanding

Peace, Love & Misunderstanding
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Peace, Love & Marijuana, er, Peace, Love & Misunderstanding brings three generations of a family together in a retro commune setting in upstate New York. Consciousness raising, distaff howling at the full moon, romance and hilarity ensue.

An uptight Manhattan lawyer (Catherine Keener) flees from the city when her even more uptight husband asks for a divorce. In tow are her college bound daughter (Elizabeth Olsen) and teen son (Nat Wolff). The gulf between mom and sis is typical of a rebellious youngster rejecting the values of their parents, only that’s nothing to the chasm that separates mom from her mom, sis’s grandmother (Jane Fonda), an herb growing tie-dyed hippie earth mother of the highest degree.

There’s a lot of typical on display in Peace, Love & Understanding and it’s only the panache of director Bruce Beresford that prevents the whole affair from feeling overly cliché. When it comes time to meet cute mom and sis find their polar opposites, in Olsen’s case a hunky butcher whose every move marks a stark contrast to her vegan lifestyle. Keener finds inner strength and loosens up enough to hook up with a local singer (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) although while he skinny dips she merely dives in wearing underwear.

This is too sweet a movie to be rated R but that must be from the constant bongs, reefers and just non-conformist stamp in general. Fonda still has great screen presence.

– Michael Bergeron