Our Souls At Night is exceedingly quiet. There is minimal dialog and most of the characters’ intent is conveyed through meaningful looks. But it is a testament to Fond and Redford’s sizzling chemistry that the slow burn of their romance remains in the foreground even as it is placed on the back burner.
I have quite the soft spot for stories about old people falling in love. There’s something about the idea of opening yourself up to the youthful vigor of a new romance as the world changes around you and you steel yourself to leave the ones you love that always, always gets me. It’s part of the appeal of Jane Fonda’s starring role as Grace in Netflix’s Grace and Frankie. But in Our Souls At Night, a reunion with her Barefoot In The Park costar Robert Redford, Fonda is less spunky businesswoman and more lonely, quiet soul, making one last attempt to reach out and find a foothold.
The premise as simple as it is odd. Fonda’s Addie Moore presents Redford’s Louis Waters with a request: that he come over and sleep next to her in her bed, so that she doesn’t have to face her loneliness, well… alone. Over time, the two strike up a friendship and then a romance as they deal with the prying eyes of their neighbors, Louis’s past infidelity and Addie’s family drama. They open up to each other about the trials of their past and disclose their shames and regrets.
The plot is difficult describe because very little happens. At one point Addie’s grandson comes to stay with her when her son’s wife leaves him. Instead of suspending their arrangement, she and Louis create their own new kind of family together as they go camping, adopt a dog and prepare meals. It signals a new invigoration in both their lives and a return to the passions they had a younger people. But as Addie’s son seeks to push them apart, their romance is interrupted. The film ends of a sweet note of hope as the couple figure out smartphones so they can continue their relationship from afar.
Our Souls At Night is exceedingly quiet. There is minimal dialog and most of the characters’ intent is conveyed through meaningful looks. But it is a testament to Fond and Redford’s sizzling chemistry that the slow burn of their romance remains in the foreground even as it is placed on the back burner. The passion the characters find for each other is sweet and endearing, and you find yourself rooting for them simply because everyone deserves to have a little love in their life. This is the filmic equivalent of a lazy Sunday drive; restorative, fulfilling and peaceful.