Our Souls at Night is a drama-romance Netflix original film based in Kent Haruf’s very last novel, published in 2015 under the same name. The screenplay was written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (500 days of Summer and The Pink Panther 2, both original screenplays written by the two of them), and directed by Ritesth Batra (The Lunchbox, The Sense of Ending). Our Souls at Night tells the story of a widow and a widower, Addy Moore (Jane Fonda, Klute, Coming Home) and Louis Waters (Robert Redford, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting) and their peculiar agreement to sleep together, in order to keep each other company through their lonely nights.
The film starts without preamble, with a very straightforward Addie proposing his neighbor of 70 years to sleep together, in a non-sexual way. The proposition seems very out of the blue but at the same time it feels very honest, and along with her statement, there is the premise of getting through the night together as a solution to their loneliness, because the nights are simply the worst. Louis is a very quiet man, unpretentious and modest, he’s the kind of man you expect uses a paper bag to carry his clothes as he does on his way to Addie’s. She is authentic, non-judgmental and empathetic. On their first night together they’re very cautious with each other, and after not being able to have a fluid conversation, they go to sleep after sharing just a few words. Before Addie’s proposition they weren’t actually close but they knew one another from the neighborhood, so their dynamic is basically getting to know each other and open up about their lives, sharing their secrets, and way beyond their flaws and mistakes from the past, they find comfort and understanding together. Our Souls at Night portrays life itself as it is, not everything is perfect, not their families, them as parents nor their new relationship.
The direction is graceful and sophisticated, besides the fact both Fonda and Redford are very convincing in their roles, there is something palpable in their chemistry that just feels sincere. Their movie romance comes from way back with movies like Barefoot in the Park (1967), The Chase (1966) and The Electric Horseman (1979), and they happen to be that kind of Hollywood couple that is really good together in motion picture. Our Souls at Night is a well-acted film with that hint of romance and drama without becoming a soap opera kind of movie.
The best thing about Our Souls at Night is definitely Fonda and Redford. Fonda is just amazing, she’s so elegant and composed that watching her is a fantastic treat. Our Souls at Night is not pretentious at all, and even though it is not THE love story and there are a few inconsistencies in Addie’s past, it’s a sincere and charming love story, a story about love at the end of life and that no matter how old you are, nobody should be alone.