Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Fonda & Redford Reunited

A 2-time Best Actress Oscar winner who's disrupting age, she's almost 80.  Jane Fonda looks chic and sophisticated getting laughs with Lily Tomlin on the Netflix sitcom, GRACE AND FRANKIE.  He went from in front of the camera to behind the camera and won an Oscar for Best Director.  The movie was ORDINARY PEOPLE which also won the Oscar for Best Picture of 1980.  He's Robert Redford, now in his early 80s.  These two top Hollywood stars have appeared in three films together.  In the first one, Neil Simon's BAREFOOT IN THE PARK, they played newlyweds in New York City.  That romantic comedy came out in 1967.  Now they play seniors in small town Colorado.  She's a widow.  He's a widower.  They've lived across the street from each other for a long time but they've been strangers.  She changes that.  She wants him to share her bed.  But don't get the wrong idea about this movie.  It's not AARP BOOTY CALL.
Jane Fonda and Robert Redford have reunited to star in OUR SOULS AT NIGHT, a production now on Netflix.  This movie about two lonely senior citizens felt so fresh and so honest.  I loved it.  I'm sure I'll be watching it again.  The two stars still have chemistry and deliver sharp, smart performances.  They're also pros whose work should be studied by young aspiring actors.  These two know the power of being still in a scene.  Being still and listening.  Being still and thinking.  Fonda plays Addie.  Redford plays Louis.  There's a scene in which Addie and Louis are motoring back to town after a sweet overnight getaway.  He's driving.  The song "I Want a Sunday Kind of Love" plays on the radio.  Addie, quite content scoots over closer to him.  You have to see it.  The two actors don't need words.  They make that scene delicious.
The story gets right to business.  We can tell what each lead character is like and where they are emotionally by their homes.  He lives alone.  He sits in a favorite easy chair and does a crossword puzzle.  He has an "old school" TV set.  Not a flat screen.  There are VHS tapes on his shelves.  He has a rotary phone and an address book with addresses and phone number handwritten into it.

He's working on a crossword puzzle at night when she calls and establishes that, in all the years of them being neighbors and alone, they've never gotten to know each other.  She wants to come over and ask him to consider sleeping with her.  She's lonely.  Having someone next to her might help her sleep.  "Nights are the hardest," she says.  Addie is forthright and adventurous, like the character Jane Fonda played in BAREFOOT IN THE PARK.  Louis is reserved and needs to be coaxed into stepping outside his usual groove, just like the character Robert Redford played in BAREFOOT IN THE PARK.
These two working class characters are so believable and warm.  Not to get too personal here, but I know exactly how Addie feels.  My partner passed away in 1994.  He was a wonderful man.  I loved him a lot.  I have been romantically interested in several fellows in the years since he died, but the romantic interest was never mutual.  I've been a solo act for way too long.  I agree with Addie. Nights are the hardest.

In bed, Addie and Louis become friends.  They discuss the joys, heartbreaks and mistakes of their marriages.  They help each other navigate through some still choppy waters in relationships with a grown child.  They get intimate.  Here's a look at OUR SOULS AT NIGHT.
Louis regularly meets a group of older buddies for coffee.  This is a nice touch.   It's not a bunch of old ladies gossiping.  It's guys doing the gossiping.  Bruce Dern, who starred opposite of Jane Fonda in 1978's COMING HOME, is one of the guys -- and the main gossip.  Iain Armitage plays Addie's grandson.  What a lovable child actor and performance.  He's a down to earth kid with good manners.

I read for OUR SOULS AT NIGHT.  Those reviews were right.  I so enjoyed this feature -- and I loved seeing that Jane Fonda and Robert Redford are still in top form.  I highly recommend OUR SOULS AT NIGHT.  Jane Fonda was an Emmy nominee this year for her lead performance on Netflix's GRACE AND FRANKIE sitcom.  She was a knockout on the red carpet.
See what I mean?  Here's Jane Fonda in 2017.
Whatever you think a woman of her age has looked like in the past, Fonda has disrupted that image.
By the way, her 1967 comedy with Redford, BAREFOOT IN THE PARK, is also on Netflix now.

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