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Our Souls at Night Review

Our Souls at Night is a 2017 about a widow and widower who’ve lived next to each other for years before coming together in a relationship.

There’s a lot to be excited about when you hear that Jane Fonda and Robert Redford are together again, now after decades since their last film. These iconic actors have long been considered some of the best of their generation and while it’s a little, I don’t know, humbling, to see them now, thirty eight years since their last pairing, it’s still moving. Ritesh Batra‘s Our Souls at Night is a highly personal film, and perhaps lacks the appeal for a larger audience, but is nonetheless a beautifully-acted and touching tale of life, aging, and love.

Louis (Redford) is an elderly man living in a small Colorado town, a widower living alone, passing his days with crossword puzzles and meeting others at the local diner for the usual ruminations. His next door neighbor is Addie (Fonda), herself an elderly woman, widowed and alone, the two barely knowing each other until one evening, she knocks on his door and poses an intriguing question. She wants him to sleep with her, not for sex, something she’s long lost interest in, but to just lie with her, through the night, for comfort and companionship. He considers it and then eventually agrees, and from it, a new beginning treats them to real friendship and eventually much more.

Our Souls at Night is a gentle film that isn’t much for challenge, rather keeping things properly sentimental and emotional. It begins in a Norman Rockwell-ish setting, in a picture postcard town where both Louis and Addie are pastoral types that seem spun from a 1950s family TV show, but we soon learn that not all is so shiny, both harboring mistakes and pains from their pasts. They each have grown children and they each have impact on their growing relationship, especially when Addie’s grandson comes to stay for bit.

No matter that Hallmark feel of it all, there is no stripping away the charms of Redford and Fonda, the on-screen couple still incredibly watchable. For fans, it’s a little hard not to think of their first film, Barefoot in the Park, where they played a very young married couple, this like a long-awaited sequel. It’s rare to see studios embrace a film for older generations that don’t center on obvious conceits, and it’s good to see these characters as authentic people, facing their age but still enjoying the life they have. It goes doubly so simply because many have grown up with these actors and there’s something heartening to see them still at it, reminding us that there is great joy and hope for any at any age.

Our Souls at Night is a good fit on Netflix, with Fonda already having success with her hit series Frankie and Grace. While it tempers its greater ambitions with some low-key filmmaking and overly-cooked Indie sensibilities, it sure is a fun watch and accomplishes pretty much exactly what it sets out to do. There’s a lot about this that will make you feel good.

Our Souls at Night Review

Movie description: Our Souls at Night is a 2017 about a widow and widower who've lived next to each other for years before coming together in a relationship.

Director(s): Ritesh Batra

Actor(s): Jane Fonda, Iain Armitage, Robert Redford

Genre: Drama

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