Jane Fonda and Robert Redford already have previous experience working on Netflix projects, with Grace & Frankie and The Discovery respectively bringing these legendary faces to the small screen. But Our Souls At Night is still a big get for the platform, uniting the two icons in a romantic dramedy that premiered at the Venice Film Festival. It’s a shame then, that despite its great lead duo, Ritesh Batra’s film is a rather bland and uninvolving offering, too flimsy to land with any real impact.
Fonda and Redford play widowed retirees Addie and Louis, who knew each other vaguely thanks to Addie’s friendship with Louis’ late wife. As the loneliness of the days, and particularly nights, becomes a heavier load to bear, Addie comes to Louis with a proposal – that they spend their nights together, literally sleeping with one another. At the outset, there’s no sexual motive (though Addie admits that Louis’ good looks made him the best choice of companion) and instead, the pair forge a friendship through their shared hopes and regrets.
What follows is, for the most part, just a series of conversations between Addie and Louis and their various friends. Nothing really happens in the first two thirds aside from the relationship-building, and that’s fine. Fonda and Redford are as good value as you’d expect and work well together, and there’s a fun ease to proceedings, though the jokes are all rather stale.
What throws everything off balance is the introduction of Addie’s bitter adult son Gene (a completely miscast and wasted Matthias Schoenaerts), who is meant to bring drive and weight, but instead highlights how low the story’s stakes feel. As the plot trips over itself to make up for lost time, it gets harder and harder to invest anything in Our Souls At Night.
CAST: Judy Greer, Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, Matthias Schoenaerts
DIRECTOR: Ritesh Batra
WRITERS: Kent Haruf, Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
SYNOPSIS: In Holt, a small Colorado town, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters . Their children live far away and they are all alone in their big houses. Addie seeks to establish a connection, and make the most of the rest of the time they have.