JANE FONDA IN FIVE ACTS – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

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Having read Jane Fonda’s insightful personal 2005 memoir, “My Life So Far,” I knew of her five so-called acts that were primarily defined by the men in her life – both her distant famous father, Henry, and her three ex-husbands, French director Roger Vadim, political activist Tom Hayden and media mogul Ted Turner. But pictures often speak louder than words, and filmmaker Susan Lacy does a masterful job of summing up this amazing female icon – who somehow reflects the good and bad of all the eras she has lived in – with her documentary, Jane Fonda in Five Acts.

Whether it was the repressive ‘50s, the free-love ‘60s, the politically-charged ‘70s, the feel-the-burn ‘80s, the working-girl ‘90s and the sisters-are-doing-it-for-themselves dawning of a new century, Fonda uniquely mirrored how American womanhood has evolved. That includes whatever the in-vogue hairdo was at the time.

At 80, this remarkable and admittedly flawed lady remains as relevant and frank as ever as she continues to find ways to renew her commitment to living life to its fullest. And, as someone who recalls being left awestruck by her performance in 1969’s They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? as an impressionable junior-high girl, I am beyond pleased Fonda is still an inspiring presence, especially as an actress. Yes, she does silly stuff like Book Club, which admittedly made me ugly laugh at times. But if you haven’t seen it, find Netflix’s Our Souls at Night, her reunion with Robert Redford a half-century or so after Barefoot in the Park. It is the perfect chaser to this beautiful HBO-produced tribute. May we all define our last acts this well.

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Susan Wloszczyna

In her nearly 30 years at USA Today, Susan Wloszczyna interviewed everyone from Vincent Price and Shirley Temple to Julia Roberts and Will Smith. Her coverage specialties include animation, musicals, comedies and any film starring Hayley Mills, Sandy Dennis or hobbits. Her crowning career achievements so far, besides having Terence Stamp place his bare feet in her lap during an interview for The Limey, is convincing the paper to send her to New Zealand twice for set visits, once for The Return of the King and the other for The Chronicles of Narnia and King Kong, and getting to be a zombie extra and interview George Romero in makeup on the set for Land of the Dead. Though not impressive enough for Pulitzer consideration, she also can be blamed for coining the moniker "Frat Pack," often used to describe the comedy clique that includes Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell. Her positions have included Life section copy desk chief for four years and a film reviewer for 12 years. She is currently a contributor for the online awards site Gold Derby and is an Oscar expert for RogerEbert.com. Previously, she has been a freelance film reporter and critic, contributing regularly to RogerEbert.com, MPAA’s The Credits, the Washington Post, AARP The Magazine online and Indiewire as well as being a book reviewer for The Buffalo News. She previously worked as a feature editor at the Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, N.Y. A Buffalo native, she earned her bachelor's degree in English at Canisius College and a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.