Old Joy (2006)



Critic Consensus: A serene, melancholy beauty permeates this meditative portrait of deep friendship and faded glory.

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"Old Joy" is the story of two old friends, Kurt and Mark, who reunite for a weekend camping trip in the Cascade mountain range east of Portland, Oregon. It is a minimalist story of friendship, loss and alienation in the Bush era. For Mark, the weekend outing offers a respite from the pressure of his imminent fatherhood; for Kurt, it is part of a long series of carefree adventures. As the hours progress and the landscape evolves, the twin seekers move through a range of subtle emotions, enacting a pilgrimage of mutual confusion, sudden insight, and recurring intimations of spiritual battle. When they arrive at their final destination, a hot spring in an old growth forest, they must either confront the divergent paths they have taken or somehow transcend their growing tensions in an act of forgiveness and mourning.
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Tanya Smith
as Tanya
as Lucy the Dog
Robin Rosenberg
as Waitress
Keri Moran
as Lawnmower
Steve Doughton
as Diner Patron
Autumn Campbell
as Diner Patron
Darren Prolsen
as Homeless Man
Jillian Wieseneck
as Diner Patron
Matt McCormick
as Weed Salesman
P. C. Peri
as Diner Patron
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News & Interviews for Old Joy

Critic Reviews for Old Joy

All Critics (86) | Top Critics (32)

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

March 15, 2007
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

You may find yourself asking whether anything's going to happen. But for those who can tolerate a slow-brewing movie, [director] Reichardt's work provides sufficient rewards.

March 9, 2007
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic

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

March 9, 2007
Denver Post
Top Critic

Such watchful reticence takes a bold, confident filmmaker.

Full Review… | January 25, 2007
Time Out
Top Critic

At just 76 minutes, Old Joy is a minimalist film, but illuminating, bittersweet, gentle and deeply alive.

January 18, 2007
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

The characters stayed with me, and I'm glad I took a second look now that it's opening for a two-week run at Northwest Film Forum. This time around, its sense of humor seemed much more effective -- as did its less-is-more style.

January 5, 2007
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Old Joy

When Kelly Reichardt hits it, she really hits it with great personal tales and nuanced performances. When she doesn't, you get nuanced boredom. Like Meek's Cutoff, this one falls into the latter category.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


This film was my first foray into the work of the well-respected Kelly Reichardt. If this film is any indication, I need to be ready for some serious introspection if I choose to go further. Although this film is very minimalistic, it tackles some pretty serious issues regarding the changing nature of friendships and the alienation that comes with growing old. It is a road picture in which the trip makes for a pretty interesting metaphor. No matter how you think a trip is going to turn out, there will always be some bumps in the road that you did not foresee. While some may be turned off by its languid pace, it is refreshingly and awkwardly honest. There are long stretches of silence between these characters and when they do converse, it is rather insipid dialogue. To capitalize on the emotional division between these two characters, Reichardt manages to keep these men in the same frame, but they couldn't seem any further apart. While a hearty dose of melodrama always spices up a good story, sometimes life isn't that way. In fact, silence far outweighs all of the words spoken in the world and it is interesting to see someone capture these moments in such a raw way. Am I eagerly awaiting this film's release on Blu-Ray? Of course not. But it is an honest look at friendship and something that isn't too often captured on film.

Reid Volk
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer


Even more minimalistic than Reichardt's follow-up, Wendy & Lucy. Still, it was a satisfying experience.

Robert Fearon
Robert Fearon

Super Reviewer

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