By: Amanda Guarragi
Women have vastly different left experiences than men and they remember every little detail. Some women have suffered their trauma whether it be emotional or physical and those moments can give them a different perspective on life. Women become more intuned with their gut feeling and can see through anyone. In Moving On Claire (Jane Fonda), Evvie (Lily Tomlin), and Joyce were all great friends back in the 70s, until terrible things transpired, secrets were kept, and everyone drifted apart. Now Joyce has died and it’s time to set things straight. Only moments into meeting at the funeral, Claire informs Joyce’s husband, Howard (Malcolm McDowell), that she’s going to kill him. Evvie arrives late, upstaging Howard’s eulogy, and once she catches wind of the plan, decides to help Claire deep-six the old bastard.
Writer-director Paul Weitz structured the film quite well as each bit of information regarding Claire and Howard was slowly revealed. As a woman watching this you catch on early as to why Claire has a personal vendetta against her best friend’s husband. With each passing moment, Claire becomes more invested in her plan to kill Howard and she spirals. The only one who ever knew about that one horrible evening was Evvie. She understood the pain that she carried with her after so many years. They loved Joyce and to not ruin her happiness with her husband, they naturally drifted apart without her knowing the reason. What Weitz wanted to show in this film is that all of the emotional pain one can feel will manifest into something else. It’s hard to cope with a situation like that and to keep it in for years.
Naturally, Tomlin and Fonda are incredible together. They have this wonderful natural chemistry that made their relationship in the film believable. There are more secrets to be discovered between Claire and Evvie that are unexpected but make the connection to Joyce even better. Even though the film handles grief and trauma, Weitz found humour in some of it. There was this great balance between such raw emotional moments from Fonda to a quippy comeback from Tomlin that just worked so well. Weitz wanted to show audiences that no one just stops living because they’re older, these experiences stay with anyone and can still affect them at any age. It’s important to have films that highlight women reflecting on their past and trying to move on in their way.
Moving On is a dark comedy that has two wonderful performances by Tomlin and Fonda. Claire and Evvie are two very fun characters that have plenty of life experiences to share with everyone. It’s the small moments between secondary characters that help shape the two leads. Fonda delivered on all fronts and showed her pain through anger as Claire did. Weitz made sure that her full story was heard at the opportune moment and it made an impact. It’s a heartbreaking scene because Fonda delivered it so well and it was subtlety built up for Claire to release that particular ghost from her past. Weitz made a strong feature to explore female friendships, trauma, and pushing forward. It’s a film that will make you connect with women of any age.