If you thought you knew Jane Fonda after decades of watching her life and art unfold in the public eye you’re in a for a surprise. Susan Lacy’s HBO documentary Jane Fonda in Five Acts takes you deeper than ever before into the successes and failures, the hope and dreams, and the true grit that have made Fonda not just a Hollywood legend but a citizen of the world who has faced tough times to stand up for what she believes.
Lacy’s filmic portrait revolves around the influence of the men in Fonda’s life: husbands Roger Vadim, Tom Hayden and Ted Turner and, first and foremost, her brilliant, famous and emotionally challenged father whose love she longed for. But as Jane tells her story with humor, compelling emotion, and almost confessional candor, you realize that however they shaped her, in the end she’s done it her way.
At 81, she says, “I wish I was braver, but I am what I am. Trying to be perfect is a toxic journey. Good enough is good enough.”
Always way more than “good enough”- We can see that Jane was often in awe of herself. It is heady and confusing to be so ahead of the pack.
I was in the back row at Jane’s exercise classes. I never got my body like hers, but I tried. I was beyond nervous the first time I interviewed her. Then over the years, we got to know each other and I was even more impressed. Her quests, her triumphs, her beauty and her self-doubts have not diminished. That’s the engine for her continuing success and our fascination. The next Jane act will be fun and an example for us all.