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FilmStubs: Old Joy (2006)

Two old pals reunite for a camping trip in Oregon's Cascade Mountains. (NR, 73 min.)


Wednesday, August 14, 2024

7:00 PM

The FilmStubs series is Free and made possible by a grant from Friends of the Library.
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Two old friends reunite for a quietly revelatory overnight camping trip in this breakout feature from Kelly Reichardt, a microbudget study of character and masculinity that introduced many viewers to one of contemporary American cinema’s most independent artists. As expectant father Mark (Daniel London) and nomadic Kurt (Will Oldham) travel by car and foot into the woods in search of some secluded hot springs, their fumbling attempts to reconnect keep butting up against the limits of their friendship and the reality of how much their paths have diverged since their shared youth. Adapted from a short story by Jonathan Raymond and accompanied by an atmospheric Yo La Tengo score, Old Joy is a contemplative, wryly observed triumph whose modest scale belies the richness of its insight. [Janus]

Starring: Daniel London, Will Oldham, Tanya Smith
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Genre: Drama

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"Wise, resonant and genuinely special."

— Jason Anderson, Globe and Mail

"Old Joy may be built around a road trip, but it's also a movie about two roads -- and two souls -- diverging."

— Steve Murray, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Subdued, artistic, with beautifully nuanced performances that are as true as they are often elusive of commercial triumph."

— Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post

"Kelly Reichardt's film is a triumph of modesty and of seriousness that also happens to be one of the finest American films of the year."

— Manohla Dargis, New York Times

"The movie captures gorgeous mountain scenery with the simplicity of an Ozu film. It also benefits from the naturalistic performances."

— John Monaghan, Detroit Free Press

"Fresh as spring water and warm as sunlight, it steeps us in the beauties we will always miss, if we keep dividing the world into winners and losers."

— Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

"Old Joy (adapted by writer Jonathan Raymond from his own short story) is only 76 minutes long, but it has the contemplative power of Buddhist meditation."

— Andrew O'Hehir,

"Notable for its visual beauty, its melancholic Yo La Tengo score and its subtle performances, it's an impressively understated and sensitively observed work."

— Tom Dawson,

"Old Joy is an accurately observed slice of that moment between postadolescence and parenthood, when friends cling or scatter, and circumstances force buried feelings to the fore."

— Marrit Ingman, Austin Chronicle

"Making exceptional use of stillness and silence, this is a rather sad study of the passing of traditional concepts of American masculinity along with the landscape that forged them."

— David Parkinson, Empire Magazine

"The movie explores the increasingly coarse line between nostalgia and acceptance for the way things are, without exclamatory revelation and uproarious self-pity. It's Sideways for realists."

— Wesley Morris, Boston Globe

"Captures the weary mood of a generation that's crested its peak along with an era, quietly making a case for how well suited film can be to capturing the finer points of human interaction while preserving their mystery."

— Carina Chocano, Los Angeles Times