Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 2017. Netflix. Screenplay by Kent Haruf, Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber. Cinematography by Stephen Goldblatt. Produced by Finola Dwyer, Robert Redford, Erin Simms. Music by Elliot Goldenthal. Production Design by Jane Ann Stewart. Costume Design by Wendy Chuck. Film Editing by John F. Lyons.
Jane Fonda plays a widow who visits her widower neighbour Robert Redford and makes an unusual but not unwelcome proposal: would he like to come over at night and sleep in her bed? With their children living elsewhere and their lovely town lacking in excitement, the solitude gets treacherous by the time the evening rolls around, and there’s no reason that two people who have known each other so long shouldn’t give it a shot. Redford agrees and the first time goes well, so they begin a routine of him showing up at Fonda’s with a few personal items, getting into their pajamas and sleeping next to each other. What transpires after that is lovely and perfectly quaint, a friendship that improves when she is forced to take care of her grandson while his parents work out a bad divorce, and it isn’t long before the trust and compassion of that friendship turns to love. There’s a lovely sense of peace to this film when the two actors are left to their own devices, the chemistry that they have enjoyed over the last fifty years in no danger of dissipating. The idea, though, that two stars as glamorous as Jane Fonda and Robert Redford can be believed as plain folk midwesterners who never left their home town is absolutely ridiculous, no matter how many plaid shirts you put on him or bad grey wigs on her. An awkwardly inserted subplot involving Matthias Schoenaerts playing Fonda’s son (with a Belgian accent and an illogical objection to Redford based on his past) is an even bigger fail of this otherwise pleasantly unimpressive movie, but make your choice all about the actors and you won’t necessarily regret it. Judy Greer has one of the film’s best scenes as Redford’s daughter, and her brief moments of both loving him and loathing him for his past mistakes is all the intelligent tension this film is missing the rest of the time.