The Lunchbox director Ritesh Batra and (500) Days of Summer writers Scott Neustadter and and Michael Weber join forces with Netflix and bring us Our Souls At Night, based on Kent Haruf‘s best-selling novel and starring Jane Fonda and Robert Redford showing off their incredible chemistry on screen.
“Would you be interested in coming to my house sometime to sleep with me?”
Addie Moore (Jane Fonda)’s first words to Louis Waters (Robert Redford) at the beginning of the film pretty much sum up its plot – Netflix itself describes it as the story of two widowers who live in Colorado and who “begin sleeping in bed together platonically to alleviate their loneliness”. Judging by the few words Netflix uses to describe Batra’s new film, the storyline does seem quite simple and straightforward – so much so that you almost expect it to be the typical “Sunday afternoon” Netflix film to watch with the family. What the description doesn’t say, however, is that Our Souls at Night is so much more than that.
Let’s start with Robert Redford and Jane Fonda’s undeniable chemistry. They are in every possible way what keep our eyes glued to the screen and make those characters so real, and fascinating. Two actors hadn’t acted together since 1979 – after Barefoot in the Park, The Chase and The Electric Horseman established them as one of the most successful pairings in film history – but, to this day, even after all these years, they still have it.
Although they have never been in a relationship with each other in real life (even though Jane Fonda does admit of having been in love with Redford for a long time), their portrayal of Addie and Louis’s relationship is absolutely flawless. From the moment she knocks at his door with her unusual proposal of sleeping together to keep each other company, we are hooked. The film is about two old friends establishing a new connection with each other, but the connection is also established with the audience: from that very first moment moment onwards, it is perfectly clear to us that the story is not going to be about finding love after a certain age, and that age has nothing to do with Addie and Louis’ relationship. Our Souls at Night is about loss, death, grief, and – most of all – it is about not having to get through all of this alone.
Our Souls at Night is not a perfect film. It can be a little too slow at times, some of the characters are not that relevant to the story, and yes – certain scenes have definitely been shot with the sole purpose of making us cry. But it is also sweet, courageous and unpredictable.It approaches complex subjects and emotions in a surprisingly tasteful way. It makes us smile, and, more importantly, it also makes us think. It might still be that “Netflix film to stream on a Sunday afternoon with the family”, but it is also a very believable, extremely real romantic story that will certainly brighten your day.