Ritesh Batra comes across as one of the finest director having a brilliant hand over unusual romantic stories with some melancholy infusion. “The Lunchbox” (2013) serves as the best example of his impeccable direction and intriguing narrative.“The Sense of an Ending” (2017) was a thought-provoking and simple complex story. His characters have a compelling character dynamics which connect to our souls right-away and he is back with a new film based on a novel by Kent Haruf, “Our Souls at Night”.
Beginning with a few shots of empty streets with a beautiful evening horizon slowly the darkness mounts over the quiet town, as a red signal changes to green we are introduced to our primary character Louis Waters (Robert Redford) having a lonely meal. Outside his house neighbor Addie Moore is anxiously loitering and finally she goes in. She seeks to establish a connection with him to sleep, but not for sex; she has tough time sleeping at night so she wants a sleeping companion. Both are lonely and widowers.
Tight Screenplay by Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber with compelling direction by Ritesh Batra makes the film interesting. Slowly the autumn romance flourishes, but one needs to absorb into the story of loneliness and melancholy. I was soaked immediately and it was cherry topped by Electricity Department who co-incidentally turned off the power during Louis and Addie’s first night, it gave me a strong experience. The story that plunges into existential darkness of souls during night is a delightful, heartfelt and adolescent affair.
With undercurrents of humor and heart-warming moments, Batra’s film dives into a pool of nostalgia and exceptional romance. Louis and Addie have past experiences which they share at intervals during their sleepovers but this doesn’t make the film too talky. It’s about the memories and sharing them to a stranger relieving and reliving for one last time. Sequences like both nurturing Addie’s grandson and taking him to the mountains having roasted marshmallows bond the characters tightly. Though the film might get tedious even though it runs around 101 minutes but remember it’s a slow romance just like the old couple, even a sexual encounter comes much later.
Robert Redford and Jane Fonda’s chemistry is the striking feature and what a charismatic act! Legendary, perfect adjective to club them. Little Iain Armitage (also features as Young Sheldon in the series of the same name) gives a cute support that we root for his betterment and bonding. Sincere and easygoing film avoids the old-age cliches though it’s not a roller-coaster ride; one ride which will surely make you weep. What “The Fault In Our Stars” (2014) did will probably work to some extent, the sense of bonding and need of companion is strong here.
While on a highway, “And I’m on a lonely road | That leads to nowhere | I need a Sunday kind of love” are the lyrics of a song playing on the radio in the car. The film leads to heartfelt bond of a lonely couple and the love is delightful. This small film leaves a long-lasting mark behind. I suggest you to watch this film with a refreshing mood on a late Saturday/Sunday evening. Soulful!
Release: 29 September, 2017
Director: Ritesh Batra
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