Our Souls at Night is a thoroughly lovely film that feels as if it could have been made 20 years ago at the studio level, but now because we live in a movie-world where the studios don’t care about this sort of low-key, adult-minded material, Netflix is here to save the day and continue to bankroll efforts which would have likely died on the vine. Starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda as two long-time neighbors who strike up a unique relationship in the twilight of their lives, with backstory carefully revealed through a series of conversations between the two of them, the film is a showcase for these two screen icons, and they totally own every single moment.
Sensitively directed by Ritesh Batra, who previously helmed the fantastic rom-com The Lunch Box, the script was adapted by the dynamic duo of Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (500 Days of Summer, The Spectacular Now, The Fault in Our Stars), and pivots on two leading acting talents who have aged beautifully and gracefully, and who share a natural sense of on-screen chemistry; it’s a pity that this is only their fourth paring in total, and they’ve not been seen together on screen since 1979’s The Electric Horseman.
Spoken dialogue is witty and sharp, but it’s the small, non-verbal asides which pepper this film that I really took note of; small town life is also evocatively rendered by cinematographer Stephen Goldblatt and production designer Jane Ann Stewart, with Elliot Goldenthal’s silky musical score in perfect tandem with the honeyed visuals, creating a comfortably warm and cozy movie that still packs a sad but unsentimental punch of emotion that solidifies its cinematic backbone. I really enjoyed this little gem, which is currently streaming on Netflix, and very much worth checking out.
Review by Nick Clement