Review of Kent Haruf’s “Our Souls at Night” as Tribute to the New Film Version Starring Jane Fonda and Robert Redford

So two years ago Kent Haruf published his last terrific novel, Our Souls at Night, which I reviewed for the Dallas Morning News, and as a tie-in and tribute of sorts, the DMN has republished my review today, which can be found here. The film version out now on Netflix, starring Jane Fonda and Robert Redford, feels a bit truncated at the end, but it has its charming moments, such as when Fonda asks Redford to sleep with her, to which he says, “I’ll think about it.” Both veteran actors look a bit glam for the roles of Haruf’s homespun, authentic people, but that’s Hollywood. One can hardly blame the producers for opting for much-beloved, aging stars to inhabit these roles. Fonda seems more eager than I imagined Addie to be, and while Redford is spryer than I imagined Louis, he does a good job of matching Louis’s laconic nature, with long pauses in the dialogue: He’s a man of few words. It was filmed in the small town of Florence, Colorado, which is near where I have a home in the state, and is a hardscrabble town that I pass through often. Bruce Dern also has a role as something of a small-town jerk, and is completely authentic in his own way, and it’s good to see him in another role in this golden age renaissance.

About williamjcobb

William J. Cobb is a novelist, essayist, and short fiction writer whose work has been published in The New Yorker, The Mississippi Review, The Antioch Review, and many others. He’s the author of two novels—The Fire Eaters (W.W. Norton 1994) and Goodnight, Texas (Unbridled 2006)—and a book of stories, The White Tattoo (Ohio State UP 2002). He has reviewed books for the Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle, and the New York Times. He lives in Pennsylvania and Colorado. He may be contacted at
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