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‘Our Souls at Night’ Review: Robert Redford and Jane Fonda Anchor a Gently Moving Love Story About Life After Death
Told with with the gentle touch of a partner taking your arm on an afternoon stroll, Ritesh Batra’s “Our Souls at Night” is a wise and wistful drama about life after death; regardless of how old you are, this is the kind of movie that your parents would like. It begins with the folksy twang of a guitar and shots of streetlights blinking awake as night falls on a small Colorado town. A widower named Louis Waters (Robert Redford) sits alone in the kitchen of a house that was clearly meant for two. This is the only sort of night that he has. At least, until it isn’t. There’s someone at the door — his neighbor, Addie Moore (Jane Fonda), also on her own — and she wants to know if Louis might be interested in sleeping with her. Literally sleeping with her. It’s not about sex, it’s just about “getting through the night.” They both agree that nights are the worst.
Although, it’s easy to understand how it could be about sex: Redford is 81, Fonda is 79, and both of them still look better than most of us ever will. Their posture is so obscenely perfect that the movie feels like it could veer into science-fiction at any moment. There’s something palpable simmering between them, and it’s crucial to a story that requires you not to pity its characters. On the contrary, this unfailingly polite film only works so well because it never others the old people, it never severs the line between your life and theirs. “Our Souls at Night” has all the narrative momentum of a semicolon, and the only thing that keeps it lumbering forward is the belief that getting into bed together every night gives Louis and Addie enough reason to get out of bed every morning.
Based on the last novel that Kent Haruf wrote before he died in 2014, and adapted to the screen by “(500) Days of Summer” scribes Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (who handle the material with a sensitivity that belies their youth), “Our Souls at Night” finds people still fumbling their way through life even as the sun is going down. Louis and Addie are great foils for each other, though the film is subtle enough not to make a big deal out of it. He has already internalized the fact that he’s given up; he’s found purgatory on Earth. Louis wears virtually the same thing every day — he has a closet that’s full of nothing but blue plaid shirts — he stills sports his wedding ring, and he only goes out to grab a bite with his buddies at the local coffee shop.
Well, they’re not that close; these men, even in their limited screen time, seem to feed off their collective misery. The most vocal member of their group is a guy named Dorlan, and he’s played by Bruce Dern (in case you didn’t take the thing about the guitar twang seriously, this is a movie in which there’s a grouchy character named Dorlan who’s played by Bruce Dern). Redford could do this kind of thing in his sleep, but he doesn’t. He’s fully present for every moment, and while Louis isn’t an outwardly sentiment man, you can sense the legendary actor feeling his way through every moment, absorbing the pain and trying to push through it.
If it weren’t for Addie, Louis certainly would have continued eating his dinners alone until someone found him dead in his kitchen one day. If she’s not his opposite, then at least she’s trying to be. She’s the one who offers her bed to Louis, and she’s the one who insists that he use the front door, regardless of what the neighbors might gossip (the film doesn’t dwell on the idea that people limit their happiness because they’re afraid of what the world is going to think of them, but it correctly identifies that as its own kind of death sentence). Fonda, whose role on “Grace and Frankie” has served as excellent practice for this part, does a phenomenal job of threading the needle between eagerness and desperation.
Unfortunately, the film doesn’t always give Fonda the support she needs. The guilt that Addie supposedly feels about a terrible accident from her past is never adequately addressed, and the decision to cast Matthias Schoenaerts as her beefy, troubled, perceptibly European son is borderline disastrous (who the hell was the kid’s father, Dolph Lundgren?). So far as the side plots are concerned, Addie’s grandson is a much less enervating presence. Played by Young Sheldon himself (Iain Armitage), little Jamie helps to galvanize Louis and Addie into something of a couple. All he has to do is bop around them and be a child and it’s enough to suggest that love can be a nurturing force at any age — a sharp contrast from movies like “Grumpy Old Men,” which treat it like a distraction before death.
“Our Souls at Night” is a small film, and it’s often such a placid one that it feels like it’s standing in place. Batra is a competent director, but he frames every boring shot of this story with the plainness of someone who knew that it almost exclusively be screened on iPhones (Netflix’s approach to narrative features never really makes any sense, but it’s very hard to overlook that this one is targeted at the one demographic that still reliably goes to the cinema). Still, all that gentleness is deceiving, as Addie and Louis’ relationship ultimately confronts a number of difficult topics head-on, from the difficulty of fixing mistakes to the even greater difficulty of living with the ones that you can’t. The ending may be strained, but it works its way to just the right sentiment. Nights are the worst, but they don’t have to be so bad.
“Our Souls at Night” will be available to stream on Netflix on September 29.
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It has been five decades since Jane Fonda and Robert Redford, both beautiful young actors beginning the white-hot ascent of their Hollywood careers, co-starred as newlyweds in Barefoot in the Park. Fifty years, four Oscars, and countless film roles later, the screen greats have reunited for another kind of love story—the twilight-year type—in Our Souls at Night, the first trailer for which made its way online Wednesday.
Adapted from Kent Haruf’s best-selling novel by The Fault in Our Stars screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, Our Souls at Night stars Fonda as Addie Moore, a widow in small-town Colorado who finds later-in-life love with Louis Waters (played by Redford), her long-time neighbor and a widower himself.
Our Souls at Night is Fonda’s fourth film with Redford. And in an interview this past March, Fonda confessed that she fell for Redford each time they worked together.
“In the three previous movies, I was always in love with him,” Fonda told Ellen DeGeneres. “I fell in love every time, so if a day went by when he wouldn’t speak to me . . . there were days when he wouldn’t speak to me unless it was part of the script. I always took it personally: ‘What if he doesn’t like me? I did something wrong.’”
This time around, Fonda said that she was able to realize how much she had matured by the fact that she suddenly wasn’t intimidated by her occasionally moody co-star.
“And now, if he doesn’t speak to me, I just say, ‘Hey, Bob, what? Come on. What are you . . . What?’”
While age and experience have helped Fonda on the intimidation front, the actress also revealed that she couldn’t help but fall back into another habit around Redford.
“The only problem with working with Bob is that I just look into his . . . I kind of fall into his eyes and forget my dialogue,” she said. “God, so good looking.”
The film, which co-stars Bruce Dern, Matthias Schoenaerts, and Judy Greer, premieres on Netflix September 29.
WHERE IS “OUR SOULS AT NIGHT” FILMED?
Set in the fictional town of Holt, Colorado, Netflix’s newest original film “Our Souls at Night” is an adaptation of Colorado native Kent Haruf’s novel. Born in Pueblo, he and his family soon moved to Cañon City. The film used several locations and businesses throughout the Pikes Peak region. Stars Robert Redford and Jane Fonda play widowed neighbors whose relationship starts to flourish and becomes the talk of the small town. The film will be available to stream Friday at 1 am MDT. Visitors can trace the steps of the actors and crew at a variety of area locations.
Old Colorado City
Most filming took place at two westside private residences on Pikes Peak Avenue. Visitors can stroll the historic streets of what was the original territory of Colorado, stop in a gallery or pick up something special in a local boutique. Make a weekend of it with a stay in one of the area’s charming B&Bs.
One of only three Five-Star hotels in the state of Colorado, this stunning piece of architecture opened in 1918 and has hosted presidents, royalty and countless celebrities. Jane Fonda stayed here during filming of the movie. Visitors don’t have to be guests to stroll the man-made lake, dine at a variety of on-site restaurants or cheers at the property’s authentic English pub, The Golden Bee.
Originally built as a mining town, the area is now famous for its array of antique stores that line Main Street, as well as being on the National Historic Registry. One scene was shot during the City’s Pioneer Day Parade, with a variety of locals as extras. Shops like Antique Warehouse contributed to the film’s set. Experience the charm of this Colorado town.
2 Sisters Café
This quaint and locally owned hometown café has the perfect combination of charm and comfort food. Friendly staff, early bird breakfast specials and cinnamon rolls round out the menu. Much of their food was also used as props during the shoot.
Follow the Colorado Springs Film Commission on Facebook.
‘Our Souls At Night’ Trailer: Jane Fonda and Robert Redford Still Have Soulful Movie Chemistry
Jane Fonda and Robert Redford first teamed up on the big screen 50 years ago in in Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park,” and now Netflix has brought them back together for the tender and soulful drama “Our Souls at Night.” The movie marks their fourth movie together and it recently earned favorable reviews at its world premiere in Venice.
Adapted from the novel of same name by Kent Haruf, “Our Souls at Night” begins with Fonda’s Addie Moore knocking on the door of Redford’s Louis Waters. Both of them have lost their significant other and Addie proposes the two begin spending their nights together in bed. Her offer doesn’t involve sex, just the hope for connection late in life. Louis agrees despite some reservations and the two spark a soulful connection as they learn about each other’s histories.
“Our Souls at Night” is directed by Ritesh Batra, his second movie of the year after “The Sense of an Ending.” Netflix will debut the film on September 29. Watch the official trailer below.
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There’s this: “It’s not about sex, it’s about getting through the night. I think I could sleep again if there was somebody next to me. You know, someone nice.” And there’s this: “You know how it is — people talk.” Here’s the first full trailer for Our Souls at Night, Netflix’s original movie that pairs Oscar-winning icons Robert Redford and Jane Fonda for the first time since The Electric Horseman in 1979. Before that, they played newlyweds in the 1967 film adaptation of Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park.
Louis and Addie are longtime neighbors who never really knew each other — he calls her “Miss Moore” when she comes to his house for the first time. Both have lost their longtime spouses — quite a while back, it appears — and are lonely. As they begin to get to know each other, they’re nervous about what the other locals might say because talk is cheap when the story is good. After some time, the nascent couple is ready to spread the news.
“What if we go into town, have lunch?” Redford’s Louis asks Fonda’s Addie. “Sounds fine to me. Maybe I’ll wear something bright and flashy.”
Netflix, please get Redford to guest/recur/star on Grace and Frankie.
Ritesh Batra directed Our Souls at Night from a screenplay by Kent Haruf, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. We could list off the co-stars, but really — this is Robert Redford and Jane Fonda together onscreen for the first time since the Johnson administration. So check out the trailer — replete with Van Morrison’s perfectly chosen Astral Weeks track “Sweet Thing” — and tell us what you think. The film goes live September 29 on Netflix.
Later this month, Robert Redford and Jane Fonda celebrate a special milestone—the 50th anniversary of Barefoot in the Park—by reuniting for another romance in the form of Netflix’s Our Souls at Night. Their homecoming is not just a treat for audiences who watched the Oscar winners rekindle their onscreen affair in 1966’s The Chase and 1979’s The Electric Horseman. It was also a gift of sorts for the actors, who spoke about the joys of falling in love again at the Venice Film Festival.
“In Barefoot in the Park, I couldn’t keep my hands off of him,” Fonda reminisced earlier this month. “I was constantly forcing myself on him. In Our Souls at Night, the dynamic of my character to his character was somewhat similar. I just love the fact that these films bookend our careers. . . . I wanted to be able to fall in love with him again.”
A new trailer for the Ritesh Batra-directed film (which is adapted from Kent Haruf’s novel) sheds light on the circumstances of this love story. Fonda stars as Addie Moore, a small-town widow who finds later-in-life love with Louis Waters (Redford), a longtime neighbor with a complicated past. In the film, Fonda plays the pluckier character, who instigates this relationship when she suddenly approaches Louis with the idea to begin sleeping together, purely for the company.
In Venice, Redford said that “things have always been easy” between the co-stars. “There’s a love there, there’s a connection there. It has to do with what your attitude is about work and what is your attitude about life.”
Fonda revealed, however, that she and Redford did get the chance to film another love scene together for Our Souls at Night.
“We played that young love, just-getting-married , and now we play old people love and old people sex,” Fonda said. “Although, in my opinion, Ritesh cut the sex scene too soon.”
“I live for sex scenes!” Fonda continued. “ doesn’t like sex scenes, but he’s a great kisser. It was fun to kiss him in my twenties, and then to kiss him again in my almost eighties.”
Earlier this year, Fonda has said that there is only one downside to filming with Redford.
“The only problem with working with Bob is that I just look into his . . . I kind of fall into his eyes and forget my dialogue,” she said. “God, so good looking.”
The film, which co-stars Bruce Dern, Matthias Schoenaerts, and Judy Greer, premieres in limited theaters as well as on Netflix September 29.
As gentle as a moth’s wing, as soft and sweet as the flesh of a marshmallow, “Our Souls at Night” chronicles the blossoming of a December-December romance between two neighbors in the fictional prairie town of Holt, Colo. It begins not with a spark of passion but with a sensible, if unusual, proposal. Addie Moore shows up at Louis Waters’s house and asks if he will sleep with her. Addie doesn’t mean she wants to have sex with Louis. She wants to slide under the covers next to him, turn off the bedside lamp and chat quietly until slumber arrives, simulating the easy marital intimacy that the two of them, both long widowed, have learned to live without. Louis, startled by the idea, agrees to think about it.
He and Addie are solid, respectable people of a kind who usually show up in movies to be mocked or sentimentalized. The disappointments and satisfactions they have lived through are etched on their faces, which are also the faces of two very famous movie stars — Jane Fonda and Robert Redford. Viewers with long memories or heavy TCM habits will recall that 50 years ago they starred as New York newlyweds in “Barefoot in the Park.” In 1979, they reunited, with a touch more denim, in “The Electric Horseman.” The intervening decades have hardly diminished their charm or their skill, and part of the pleasure of this film, directed by Ritesh Batra (“The Lunchbox”), lies in the rediscovery of what wonderful actors they can be, and how good they are together.
“Our Souls at Night,” adapted (by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber) from Kent Haruf’s final, posthumously published novel, is too cautious and cozy to be a great movie, or even a very interesting one. The music (by Elliot Goldenthal) telegraphs the emotions too precisely, and Mr. Haruf’s wry and subtle plot is mishandled, so that there is both too much dramatic conflict and not quite enough. When Addie and Louis’s grown-up children show up — played by Matthias Schoenaerts and Judy Greer — they drag in some bulky baggage. Each family has a painful event in its past, and each child represents a textbook drawing of the consequences of that pain, rather than a fully embodied, credibly suffering human being.
Luckily, the stars have humanity to spare, and very little left to prove. With her careful diction and a bearing that conveys starchiness and sensuality in perfect, improbable balance, Ms. Fonda turns middle-class maturity into a bewitching form of charisma. Addie’s approach to Louis, a man she has never known that well, is driven less by neediness than by a rational understanding of what she needs. She needs to be less alone.
It’s been fifty years since Robert Redford and Jane Fonda played newlyweds in Barefoot in the Park, and now the Oscar-winning pair have reunited for another on-screen romance in Netflix’s Our Souls at Night, a feature film about a couple who find love unexpectedly later in life.
The film marks the fourth time the pair have worked together, having also starred in The Chase (1966) and The Electric Horseman (1979.)
‘In Barefoot in the Park, I couldn’t keep my hands off of him,’ Fonda told EW.
‘In Our Souls at Night the dynamic of my character to his character was somewhat similar. I just love the fact that these films bookend our careers. I wanted to be able to fall in love with him again.’
Based on the best-selling novel written by Kent Haruf, Our Souls at Night is set in Colorado and begins when Addie Moore (Jane Fonda) pays an unexpected visit to a neighbour, Louis Waters (Robert Redford).
MORE: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT POLDARK SEASON 4
Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they’d been neighbours for decades, but had little contact. Their children live far away and they are all alone in their big houses. She seeks to establish a connection, and make the most of the rest of the time they have.
In addition to Redford and Fonda, the film stars Bruce Dern, Matthias Schoenaerts, Judy Greer and Iain Armitage, and will debut on Netflix on 29th September.
Watch the full trailer for Our Souls at Night below:
(Photo credit: Kerry Brown)
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Hollywood stars Jane Fonda and Robert Redford never thought they would live long enough to play an onscreen couple again.
Nearly 40 years after last starring as a cinematic pair, both say hopes of getting together one last time had long faded. But then Our Souls at Night serendipitously landed in Redford’s lap.
The new film, which debuted Friday on Netflix, is based on Kent Haruf’s posthumously published novel about two elderly neighbours seeking companionship late in their lives. When Redford read the book, he couldn’t see anyone but Fonda starring alongside him.
He decided this was his chance to woo her back.
“Time was wasting,” the 81-year-old actor says. “I wasn’t sure (the right film) would come around until this.”
Mortality isn’t usually a topic confronted by actors during interviews, but Redford and Fonda raise it several times in separate conversations.
“First of all, I didn’t think I’d ever be alive at this age,” Fonda, who turns 80 in December, says matter of factly. “I never thought I’d be able to work with him again.”
Both of their characters are facing the realities of getting older and the emotional baggage that comes with it. They have partners who have died, and their own mistakes linger, but they are still looking for a human connection.
Our Souls at Night opens with Fonda’s character asking Redford if he’d like to sleep with her. She means it literally.
Soon afterward, they wind up in bed together, reflecting on their lives. It’s not about sex, though the topic does eventually come up.
“No one pays much attention to love coming later in life to people who thought they lost it,” Redford says.
“But (these two people) find it in a surprising way: lying together at night and just talking to each other. The idea that if it’s dark and you’re willing, you can say things you haven’t said before. . . . There’s a connection on that level that’s very unique.”
It helps that Redford and Fonda have a storied history on the silver screen.
She played the lonely wife to his imprisoned husband in 1966’s The Chase before the pair got together as doe-eyed newlyweds in 1967’s Barefoot in the Park. The 1979 drama The Electric Horseman played upon their established chemistry.
But after that, Redford and Fonda’s cinematic romance faded away. She went onto produce a bestselling line of exercise videos and star in comedies like Monster-in-Law and he launched an Oscar-winning directorial career with 1980’s Ordinary People.
While they casually discussed igniting the flame for another movie, several decades passed.
Our Souls at Night convinced Redford it was now or never, so he reached out to Fonda, who was smitten with the idea.
On the set, Redford and Fonda say their chemistry was as strong as ever.
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“It was just so easy and comfortable being back with him,” Fonda says. “It was something I’ll treasure for whatever is left of my life.”
The experience also unearthed some old memories, like when Fonda walked into a historic Denver hotel for one scene. As she looked around the lobby, she asked Redford if it reminded him of anything.
“He didn’t know what I was talking about,” Fonda chuckles.
“(In) Barefoot in the Park, we’re newlyweds and we’re checking into the Plaza Hotel in New York. So it’s like a bookend of checking into hotels. That really tickled me.”
While their memories might be different, both actors share an unwavering thirst to continue working into their 80s.
Redford is about to embark on directing a film about the creation of the atomic bomb. Any suggestions he might retire are quickly dismissed.
“I’ll run out of life before I run out of ideas,” the actor says.
“I decided I’ve probably acted long enough, so directing and producing is what I’ll be moving towards,” he adds.
Fonda is looking toward a fourth season of the Netflix comedy Grace and Frankie, co-starring Lily Tomlin. It’s due next year, but Fonda says she hopes the show keeps chugging well beyond that batch of episodes.
“Lily and I have pledged to each other to stay healthy so we can keep doing it for many years to come,” she says.
“I don’t even know anybody that retires. I don’t know what that would even mean.”