Old Joy - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Old Joy Reviews

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½ September 19, 2016
"It's all one huge thing now, there's trees in the city, and garbage in the forest. What's the big difference?" - Kurt

A sentry of the American Northwest, writer/director Kelly Reichardt idolizes its forested mountains in this outing for two reunited friends. The men have have taken different paths in life, but meet back at the crossroads to share a slice of natural comforts. I found OLD JOY to be one of the most relaxing viewings I've ever had and it's largely due to Yo La Tengo's wanderlust score and Reichardt's determination to let it play out. The narrative is minimal, the ending is opaque and the journey is all too fleeting.
½ August 6, 2016
Leisurely, much-acclaimed examination of male bonding.
½ April 6, 2016
It's all about the vibe here - which is generally peaceful and introspective, underscored by a thin vein of anxiety. Director Kelly Reichardt lets this spur of the moment camping trip by two old friends unfold naturally and uses Ozu-like still-life shots (mostly of beauteous nature) to punctuate the action (if you can call it that) and provide a pause for reflection. The soundtrack is by Yo La Tengo at their most meditative, although there are healthy doses of silence too. Some talk radio focused on economic and racial problems is heard in the car - which helps to advance that theme of underlying anxiety, mostly associated with the character Mark who is about to become a new dad, has a steady/busy job, and who generally seems to have moved on from a more carefree existence to a life of responsibility. However, Kurt (played by Will Oldham a.k.a Bonnie 'Prince' Billy) seems more free-wheeling, a sort of elemental spirit (if you will) with some deep-seated emotions bubbling under his surface, smoothed over with half-cracked story-telling about dreams and openness to experience-styled adventures. As the movie progresses, you wonder whether Mark wishes he were still like Kurt; but that gradually and gently shifts to wondering whether Kurt wishes he were more like Mark. There is ample room to do such wondering but the movie also lets you _feel_ this reality which might be very similar to your own, if you've reached a certain age. Above all, then, the wistful awareness of time having passed (and the tension between the inability and the ability to recreate earlier states) evokes the sensation that Reichardt has aptly labelled "Old Joy".
½ September 20, 2015
A gentle movie with inner tension that could have been used to better purpose. Mark, a latter-day hippy in search of self, and Kurt, a compliant father-to-be, go on a camping trip, the spur of the moment. Kurt is more personally grounded and eager to talk about whatever the two lost as they grew apart, post-college or high school. Mark is more into avoidance, right down to the scene in which the men are lying in adjoining wooden tubs full of steaming water and Kurt gets up, smokes joint, and tries to make a physical connection. There are hints that they might have had a sexual fling years past, but Mark is not going that far now. His expressions say more than his words. The duo talk in circles and the dialogue never gets very interesting. It's all about Kurt's taking a course in physics, his vision of the universe, and Mark's volunteering to teach woodworking to teenagers. At least Mark gets party animated sharing this. There is a hint from Mark that Kurt also does volunteering, but to a "very different community" - the only hint of Kurt's possible gayness. Wish the movie had more intense conversation and that Kurt had broken through Mark's innate privacy boundaries. As it is, it's thoughtful, but needed to get to a bolder place.
July 28, 2015
Slow but with something to say and lots of beauty.
May 27, 2015
Kelly Reichardt's film is deceptively simple. In truth it is simply complex. Will Oldham and Daniel London deliver quietly powerful and very realistic performances as two reunited friends. A weekend of camping and hiking in the mountains of Oregon takes a heavy turn as both men grapple with their lives, their choices and their friendship. Always emotionally insightful and genuine, Old Joy is a unsentimentally touching and unsettling journey. Not to be missed.
½ February 27, 2015
It seems like every movie critic gave this film perfect ratings. This is by far one of the most disturbing movies I have ever seen. Don't waste your time with this one, you'll thank me for it later.
February 20, 2015
I wanted to like it so badly, but I was just bored to tears. The point is made, but to what end? A yawner. Nice scenery, though.
November 23, 2014
I liked this short minimalist film that Kelly Reichardt directed. It's only 1 hour and 13 minutes and has very little dialogue but I was still interested in friendship between the two leads, especially how much they changed over the years (the movie takes place over 2 days, but the past is dealt with often). I liked both characters and felt both actors did a solid job. Overall, definitely not a film for everyone, but I enjoyed it enough.
October 4, 2014
Never too brilliant but never too shit either. Its a very boring film but it has something to say about space, time and the mind, which makes it quite watchable. If you are in need of some meditation and couldn't bother heading off to a retreat or a monastary, instead wanting to watch a film then this is ideal.
September 9, 2014
An incredibly boring and none eventful film. Nothing more I can really say. I do not understand how critics can find this film good, it's crap!!!
May 14, 2014
A chamber piece of a road movie, that performs a minor miracle: We witness two men do very little for a brief running time, let it feels like we've known these characters are whole lives.
May 9, 2014
Why is this called "a gay movie?" Did I miss something????????
½ February 9, 2014
There's not much to it, but it's enjoyable. It's not much more than a short film, and it's very beautiful. Though I am predisposed to liking watching people walk through a forest, especially such a nice one as this.
½ August 4, 2013
This movie is the answer to a question no one asked. Ok I get that it's supposed to be slow moving and reflective, but what it really consists of is holding a handheld camera out the window and showing buildings pass by as they drive to the woods. Or you're looking through the windshield at two yellow lines on the highway. These guys both appear as total losers, and the man-sized toddler (Kurt) stumbles around aimlessly and makes his friend Mark even pay for the pot before they leave! It's assumed that Mark also ends up buying the gas, the beer, and probably breakfast at the little dive the next morning. If the film is supposed to be so scenic and beautiful, why did they end up camping out in a junkyard? The next half of the movie consists of the bobble head with the pink shorts stumbling around in the woods, and the guy with the Volvo and the dog follows along behind him. Finally they end up at some cabin, get naked, and take a bath in separate bathtubs while drinking beer and snoozing. The bobblehead tries to give his friend a backrub, which his friend resists, until he gives up and just lies there letting it happen to get it overwith. Finally they head back home, and we see more scenery as they drive back to the city (at least this time they don't get lost). It ends when the guy with the Volve drops off his friend, he drives away, and the bobblehead gives some homeless guy a dollar. End of movie. THIS HAS TO BE THE MOST BORING MOVIE EVER PRODUCED!
July 27, 2013
This movie was pointless, and I hated both characters.
Super Reviewer
July 3, 2013
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.
½ April 7, 2013
Such a great film...& amazing views of the pacific northwest...very introspective. Makes me want to move there...
½ February 11, 2013
It's like taking a trip with two old friends..... two really boring friends.. One who can't seem to grow up, and the other being the perfect example of why you wouldn't want to.
January 23, 2013
A minimalist movie. Simple story with great acting and some chilled out direction. Makes for a superb relaxing watch.
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