Two of Hollywood’s most iconic, most charismatic and most talented stars reteam for the first time in almost 40 years in Our Souls at Night. In the movie, Jane Fonda plays Addie, a widow who one day knocks on the door or Louis (Robert Redford), a man she’s been neighbors with for decades but never really gotten to know. He’s a widower and she’s decided that, with both of them alone and in their sunset years, maybe it would be good to spend some time together.
What she’s proposing isn’t necessarily romantic in nature. It’s more about companionship, someone to talk to and fill an empty house. Louis agrees to the idea and the two form a friendship that, despite its original intent, becomes something more.
The movie’s poster uses its primary asset as the key selling point, namely the pairing of its two stars. Fonda’s head rests on Redford’s shoulder in a pose of obvious emotional intimacy. The hazy filter applied to the photo gives it a slightly gauzy look that brings to mind the one-sheets for movies based on Nicholas Sparks books, but let’s overlook that for the moment. The credentials of both actors, as well as the movie’s appearance at the Venice Film Festival, are at the top.
The first teaser doesn’t have a lot, just a single shot of Addie and Louis driving along a barren highway in an old truck, Addie gradually moving over to be closer to Louis. It’s not much but it’s enough to promise the repairing of these great actors, which is actually quite a lot.
The full trailer starts as Addi knocks on Louis’ door She wants to get to know him better after years and years of the two living near each other. They’re both alone and want to avoid the appearance of a scandal, just some companionship through the last years of life. They develop a friendship and spend more and more time together, with that friendship eventually evolving into something more.
Dang…the chemistry between Fonda and Redford is practically a character of its own here. They both bring their usual world-class chops and abilities, shown here in subdued, understated performances, to the role. I’m completely on board, though that has been the case for quite a while now.
Online and Social
Nope. Netflix gave the movie limited promotion on its brand social channels but didn’t set up separate websites or social profiles to promote it.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
No paid advertising that I’m aware of.
Media and Publicity
The first real look at the movie, along with a brief interview with Fonda about the story and her on- and off-screen relationship with Redford, came in EW’s 2017 preview. Fonda kept talking about the movie and her long-lived career working with Redford, usually while promoting other projects.
It was announced the movie would screen at this year’s Venice Film Festival, which also hosted an event celebrating both Fonda and Redford. Both Fonda and Redford talked here about reuniting, the changed dynamic between the two of them after so many years and more. That would be a constant theme throughout the publicity in various other interviews with the pair of leads.
(Side note: It’s not part of the movie’s publicity or anything, but if you haven’t been listening to Karina Longworth’s latest podcast series on the political activism and film career of Jane Fonda, you’re doing the internet wrong.)
I would have loved to see even more attention and press turned to the movie, of course. But that’s because I’m a huge fan of Redford and Fonda and have loved their previous collaborations. While current, younger actors are often great, there’s nothing quite like the older generation that brings with it the ease and charisma of the old days of Hollywood.
That charisma and charm are on central display in this limited but effective campaign from Netflix. The reteaming of Fonda and Redford is enough of a draw in and of itself and the company knows it. There’s just enough story shown to let the audience know what to expect and there are sure to be twists on that, but the focus is on two stars whose chemistry hasn’t diminished a bit over the decades.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.