OUR SOULS AT NIGHT brings Robert Redford and Jane Fonda back together in 2017, 38 years after their last pair-up in The Electric Horseman, a good half-century since they matched sparks in The Chase and Barefoot In The Park. Directed by Ritesh Batra, the story comes out of a novel from Kent Haruf (his last, completed just before his death in 2014), crafted into a script by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. Redford produced.
In the small Colorado town of ‘Holt’, aged widower ‘Louis Waters’ (Bob) and similarly up-there widow ‘Addie Moore’ (Jane) have been neighbors for many years, but only start to get to know each other when Addie, done with lonely nights, suggests they try spending them together, platonically. After a bit of consideration, Louis figures it can’t hurt. Gradually, they fall into a considerate, comfortable routine, which eventually includes minding Addie’s 7-year-old grandson ‘Jaime’ (Iain Armitage), after her son ‘Gene’ (Matthias Schoenaerts) can’t manage—his marriage is kaput and work is scarce.
At 80 (Redford) and 78 (Fonda), the veterans once-powerful boxoffice clout was no longer an issue, and they were likewise a good way’s past the gimmicky 40-something froth of The Electric Horseman, let alone the frisky 1967 romcom shenanigans of Barefoot In The Park. There’s humor, but it’s gentle and appropriate for the characters, so dumbo ageist jokes are left to other, less-thoughtful actors to suffer through in lesser films. The drama is of the quiet, reflective sort that lingers a bit rather than the typical showboat fireworks whose impact too often evaporates before the credits roll. It’s a pleasure to see them work together again.
Though well-reviewed, audience attendance was minimal: it only touched spot #219 among the releases from 2017. The Colorado location shooting was done in Florence and Colorado Springs. The understated score is from Elliot Goldenthal. With Phyllis Somerville, Bruce Dern (back in nasty mode) and Judy Greer. 103 minutes.