Not long ago, in anticipation of this long-awaited reunion, I went back and revisited 1967's Barefoot in the Park, the Neil Simon comedy that saw Jane Fonda and Robert Redford in the most purely adorable forms of their careers.
Barefoot, I'm afraid, hasn't aged so well. Sure, Fonda and Redford look fabulous and Mildred Natwick is a scene-stealing hoot in her Oscar-nominated turn as Fonda's mama, but it's really among the more thin and turgid Simon works. The star wattage only keeps it alive for so long.
Our Souls at Night, the first Fonda-Redford picture since 1979's The Electric Horseman, is, I'm pleased to report, a real charmer, a modest but sweet film that often soars on the chemistry of its leads.
One evening, Fonda's Addie pays a visit to her neighbor, Redford's Louis. Both are widowed and lonely and, despite living near each other for decades, never really got to know each other. Addie has an initially uneasy proposal, that it might be nice if she and Louis slept together on occasion. That is, not for sex but for company and companionship.
Without too much in the way of hesitation, they do and, slowly but surely, sparks fly. Their relationship is strengthened but later tested by the entrance of Addie's estranged son (Matthias Schoenaerts) and endearing grandson (Iain Armitage).
Souls has a slightly sluggish start and ends on a note that I didn't find entirely satisfying but, on the whole, is quite an enchanting endeavor. Fonda (in a role leaps and bounds different from her dazzling work on Grace and Frankie) and Redford are wonderful as ever and the screenplay, by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, is observant and full of insight.
One other, minor quibble - if you're going to have the legendary Bruce Dern in this thing, why only give him about three minutes of screen time and not even a scene alongside Coming Home co-star Fonda?!