A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Our Souls at Night is based on the book by Kent Haruf. Reuniting Jane Fonda and Robert Redford in a story about the relationship between a lonely widow and widower who have been longtime neighbors, the film makes the most of the two stars' appeal and cinematic integrity. Many of the scenes exploring the development of their romance are set in the bedroom, without sex; however, audiences can expect the ultimate answer to "will they or won't they?" treated with tenderness and restraint. Expect kissing, embracing, and bare shoulders, along with mild sexual innuendo in some scenes with the leading man's cronies, moderate social drinking (wine and beer), and a bit of swearing: two instances of "damn" and a "crap." With this gentle story of romance between two people in the September of their years, the duo completes a half-century of noteworthy romantic pairings, beginning in 1967 as young newlyweds in an early Neil Simon comedy, Barefoot in the Park, and delighting audiences in a memorable love story between two adults in The Electric Horseman, 1979.
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What's the story?
Addie Moore (Jane Fonda) takes a giant leap in OUR SOULS AT NIGHT when she boldly knocks on the door of Louis Waters (Robert Redford). Summoning her courage, she makes an unusual proposal. They're both widowed, they have been neighbors for many years, though they don't know each other well, and, most critical, they are each alone. What's more, she knows that they're both good people. What if...? Louis waits, not knowing what to expect, as Addie finds her way. What if they spent their nights together? Slept together? In the same bed? Simply for the companionship, the conversation, and the fact that neither would feel so terribly alone. It takes a little time, but Louis warms to the idea, willing to give it a try. So, they do. But even in their golden years, issues that affected them throughout their lives (their kids, their friendships), along with an adorable grandson (Iain Armitage) and a physical setback, complicate their newfound relationship and threaten to upset the rare relationship they're creating.
Is it any good?
It's fortunate that this latest pairing of two iconic movie stars is worthy of their talent, their long-standing appeal, and the startling vibrancy with which they carry on the movie star tradition. It's a lovely story, entirely fresh in some ways, comfortably familiar in others. The naturalness and the chemistry between such old friends, Fonda and Redford, serve Addie and Louis well. They've always been fun to watch together and they still are. Directing, supporting performances, and screen adaptation of a fine book are all first-rate, as is the production. And Colorado looks sensational by day and by night. Only the slightly corny coffee klatch of old-timers, led by Bruce Dern, feels routine; it's not even clear why Louis Waters would want to hang out with these codgers. Our Souls at Night is a solid movie, well worth watching simply for the pleasure of the company and a heartwarming look at an ageless romance.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how movies are made to appeal to specific audiences. Our Souls at Night was made for longtime fans of the two stars, mature filmgoers, and love story fans. What specific movie genres are your favorites? Which genres are made for your age group? Why is it a good thing to occasionally "view outside the box" and see movies that might surprise you?
How does this movie shatter stereotypes about older folks? Why is it valuable for audiences of all ages to see a love story about two people of a certain age who are vibrant and engaged in the world around them? Why is it both heartwarming and instructive to see Jane Fonda, at 79 years of age, and Robert Redford, at 81, still able to bring a story like this one to life?
There's a specific art to adapting a book for film. Our Souls at Night is based on a novel by Kent Haruf. Do you look forward to seeing movies made from books that you have enjoyed? Which are your favorites? Do you ever read books after you've seen a movie?
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