Directed by Ritesh Batra
Produced by Robert Redford/Erin Sims/Finola Dwyer
Written by Scott Neusatadter/Michael A. Weber
Based on the novel “Our Souls at Night” written by Kent Haruf
Here’s the thing: yes, I could have watched OUR SOULS AT NIGHT while I was in my 20s and 30s and appreciated it for the artistry and technicalities and the story and the skill of the actors involved. But I wouldn’t have emphasized or been engaged with the characters in the way that I became while watching this movie then. Simply because I am closer in age with the characters in the movie now. It’s why I always recommend to my younger friends who are movie fans that they watch movie about older people. Because God willing, they will one day find themselves being older people and they will indeed have to deal with those issues the characters in those movies face. Which brings us to the issue of romance in older people in OUR SOULS AT NIGHT.
Louis Waters (Robert Redford) is a widower and has been for quite a while. And he’s settled into the comfortable routine life of a widower. And then one day his long time widowed neighbor Addie Moore (Jane Fonda) knocks on his door and asks if they can talk. She has a proposition for him: can they sleep together.
Oh, it’s not for sex. Addie assures Louis that she lost the desire for sex a long time ago. She simply misses the sensation of having a man sleeping in the same bed with her and somebody to talk to.
I am willing to bet that some of you read that and said; “WTF?” and others nodded their heads in total understanding.
Louis is not quite sure how to take this proposal and in fact, his initial reaction is one of the best scenes in the movie and I would not dare give it away. Suffice it to say that he does indeed take Addie up on her offer and it develops into one of the sweetest and most realistic romances I’ve ever seen depicted on screen.
It helps that we’re seeing Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, actors who I have grown up seeing in a variety of roles on screen since the 1970s and I was really comfortable seeing them as an older couple navigating their way through new romance while dealing with getting older and the lingering pain of their spouses passing away. There are scenes where they just lie in bed and talk and due to their sheer acting power and the strength of the dialog, I was just as riveted as when I was watching action scenes in “Guardians of The Galaxy” or “Wonder Woman.”
And that’s because I’ve come into an understanding that there’s just as much heroism in living day-to-day as there is in having superpowers and saving the world. And that’s what OUR SOULS AT NIGHT is all about. People living their lives with simple grace, dignity and just being plain ol’ civil to each other. And that’s why I think a movie like this is worth seeing. Especially now in the time that we now live in it’s downright refreshing to see a movie where people treat each other like human beings are supposed to treat each other: with dignity, intelligence and respect. Even in the subplot where Jane Fonda’s character has to deal with her son who has serious problems of his own, it’s handled with a maturity on all sides I really enjoyed seeing in a movie.
While Jane Fonda as an actress has never turned my crank, I enjoyed her performance here greatly. She realizes she has gotten older and unlike some of her peers (I’m looking at you, Goldie Hawn) understands she has to change her acting style to fit and it works here. And Robert Redford…hell, what can we say about Robert Redford. He was 81 when he made this movie and is still hotter and more charming than half the actors working in Hollywood today. Hell, I’d still date him if he asked me. Some of Redford’s most charming scenes are with Iain Armitage who plays Fonda’s grandson. He invests him with his love of model trains and teaches him how to throw a softball and fly fish. There is something totally and absolutely endearing about an older man bonding with a younger man and yes, I speak from experience.
So should you see OUR SOULS AT NIGHT? Absolutely. If you’re a Jane Fonda or Robert Redford fan who has seen them work together (they’ve made three films prior to this) then you’re the audience for this. And if you’re a younger couple home on a Friday or Saturday night looking for something on Netflix to watch, give this a try. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. OUR SOULS AT NIGHT is a romance for all ages. OUR SOULS AT NIGHT is currently available for streaming on Netflix and if you haven’t made your plans yet for what to watch with your wife/husband/significant other tonight, I heartily recommend you give this movie a viewing.