Our Souls at Night had its World Premiere at the Venice Film Festival back on September 1 – Now, mere weeks later, the folks at Netflix have released the film on select NY/LA screens for an Oscar Qualifying Run and on its streaming service for at home viewing for all of their subscribers.
Synopsis: After widowed neighbors Addie and Louis begin sleeping in bed together platonically to alleviate their loneliness, a real romance begins to blossom. (Netflix)
Starring: Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, and Bruce Dern
Writers: Kent Haruf, Scott Neustadter, and Michael H. Weber
Director: Ritesh Batra
Running Time: 103mins
If you’re looking for a new drama to check out that’s light-hearted and sweet, look no further as this film is exactly that. As a drama, it doesn’t break any new ground but that’s okay as it doesn’t really try to either. This film is what you would call an easy watch as it’s not demanding or challenging at all. It’s one of those slice of life films that’s sure to put a smile on your face and it works extremely well for what it is.
As like most films of its genre, it relies heavily on its script and the chemistry of its leads and Batra couldn’t have chosen better actors for the film in this regard. Hollywood veterans and Oscar winners Robert Redford and Jane Fonda play Louis Waters and Addie Moore had terrific chemistry here as they showcased why they are such beloved stars in the first place. This may be the fourth big screen collaboration between the two but after all this time, they make it look effortless. They are definitely the main draw for this film and rightfully so.
To add to this, the film is well directed, written, shot and scored too. Despite Netflix’s attempts with an Oscar Qualifying Theatrical run currently underway on select screens in NY and LA, it is unlikely to garner any nominations but it’s more than serviceable for what it is.
The film never felt clichéd or got over sentimental where it easily could have. In fact, the film feels more like an indie than a big studio production and it works much better this way. The film tackles some mature themes with subjects of grief, loss and loneliness all weaved in and yet, weak genre clichés are avoided here.
Now, that’s not saying that there aren’t flaws present here. The film was a little longer than needed, clocking in at 103 minutes. Some sections in the middle dragged on a little longer than they needed to so maybe an extra pass in the editing room could have helped out here.
Likewise, the majority of the subplots that are presented here go literally nowhere and like the film itself don’t receive proper closure in the end. These plots appear to have been shoehorned in to add some tension/drama to the third act of the film as up until this point there was no real conflict present.
In Conclusion/My Verdict: 3.0 out of 5.0 Stars – Ritesh Batra’s “Our Souls at Night” doesn’t break any new ground in its genre nor does it try to but for what it is, it’s a more than serviceable drama that is worth checking out. This could be a “Perfect Sunday afternoon” watch and a great choice if you’re looking for a new movie to kick back and watch with your mother/grandmother this fall season. It’s extremely well-acted with great performances from Redford and Fonda, it’s also occasionally funny, sweet and at times quite heartwarming too.