Our Souls at NightVenice Film Festival 2017
Our Souls at Night sees the long-awaited return of Robert Redford and Jane Fonda as an on-screen couple, 28 years after The Electric Horseman. It’s a film about love and how it doesn’t fade over time – it could actually even heighten. But it’s also a story of second chances and being brave when we would normally think it’s too late to start a new life.
Louis (Redford) and Addie (Fonda) are neighbours, they both lost their spouses and have been living alone for years. One day, Addie knocks on Louis’s door to make a somewhat audacious proposition: she invites him to sleep with her. Not in a sexual way, just not to feel alone, because “the nights are the worst”. It starts as a necessity but it develops into a genuine relationship.
The two actors are undeniably comfortable with each other; the romance between them looks really natural and they clearly share some traits with their own characters, too. Just like Redford, Louis wanted to become an artist before starting his professional career.
When asked at the press conference why he didn’t direct this film (Redford bought the rights to adapt the book and produced it), he pointed out that he wanted to give the opportunity to a young director, Ritesh Batra, whose debut film The Lunchbox became a success at Sundance (the festival founded by the American actor, which fosters new, independent cinema). Our Souls at Night is a picture admittedly conceived for an older audience – a segment often neglected – but with an appeal for any age. It’s a lesson in acting too: mainly from the protagonists but Matthias Schoenaerts and Judy Greer, as the son and daughter of Addie and Louis respectively, do a great job. With a relaxing, heartwarming pace and music reminiscent of Nebraska, it just feels right to see Bruce Dern in a cameo role as a coffee friend of Redford.
Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor
Our Souls at Night is released this autumn on Netflix.
Watch three clips from Our Souls at Night here: