Venice Film Festival: Our Souls at Night

Our Souls at Night
Out of Competition
Directed by Ritesh Batra
Starring Jane Fonda, Robert Redford, Bruce Dern, Matthias Schoenaerts and Judy Greer

by Joanna Orland

In small town Colorado, Addie Moore (Jane Fonda) nervously approaches her neighbour Louis Waters (Robert Redford) with a proposition. As the two have been mourning the loss of their spouses for some time now, living their later years alone, Addie requests the company of Louis in her bed as she finds nights are the hardest part of the day to get through. There is nothing sexual in her initial proposal; Addie is merely looking to ease her loneliness, and the company of a man she’s always known and found to be nice to talk to and look at isn’t the shabbiest way to do so. Addie and Louis find comfort in each other while they reminisce about their past, happy times and regrets. The characters unfold through their bedtime conversations, and their relationship blossoms into more than mere companionship.

Our Souls at Night has the message that it’s never too late to make amends, fulfill ambitions or find love – even when you aren’t looking for it. Louis is a bit of a hesitant man, shying away from Addie at the start, visiting her through the side door of her house, rather than walk through the front door and risk becoming the talk of the town. As Louis begins to soften to the idea of having a girlfriend, Addie’s son Gene (Matthias Schoenaerts) adds complication when he leaves his 7-year-old son Jamie at her house. Louis and Addie quickly take to caring for Jamie, living in this makeshift family setup that gives Louis a chance to relive being a parent, something he may not have done as well at the first time around with his daughter Holly (Judy Greer).

As Netflix’s content is generally more skewed to a younger generation, Robert Redford has stated how Our Souls at Night is an important story to be told – representing an older demographic through a timeless theme of love. Our Souls at Night is indeed timeless in this fashion, breaking no new ground, but reuniting two Hollywood legends on screen, emanating their chemistry, and touching our hearts through their love story.


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