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Old Joy

20joy When old friends Mark (Daniel London) and Kurt (Will Oldham) embark on a weekend camping trip in the Oregon Cascades, they find themselves exploring much more than nature in this meditation on friendship, memory and generational malaise. As the men journey deeper into the wilderness -- first losing, and then finding, their way -- they struggle to find common ground in the divergent paths they've chosen.
HD Available
Netflix Rating: 2.6
NYT Critics' Pick
Two old friends drive out of Portland, Ore., one day and into a strained reunion in Kelly Reichardt's "Old Joy," a triumph of modesty and of seriousness that also happens to be one of the finest American films of the year. Read the review
Rotten Tomatoes: Fresh 84%
Critics' score: 85   Audience score: 75   Rotten Tomatoes page
Top Rotten Tomatoes Critics

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

Steve Murray, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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.

Robert Denerstein, Denver Rocky Mountain News

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

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post

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

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune

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

John Monaghan, Detroit Free Press

It plays for a scant 73 minutes, but if feels as long as a Wagner opera. full review

Richard Nilsen, Arizona Republic

The real resonance of Reichardt's at once lean and profound little movie is that, without saying anything directly, it can seem to say so much. full review

Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star

Wise, resonant and genuinely special. full review

Jason Anderson, Globe and Mail

Old Joy's not-going- anywhere-ness is a big part of its charm.

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer

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. full review

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

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. full review

Wesley Morris, Boston Globe

About [Kelly Reichardt's] directing, after praising her simplicity, one has to praise her daring. To make this film took considerable conviction -- and, for an artist, conviction usually entails courage.

Stanley Kauffmann, New Republic

Slow moving but ultimately quite touching. full review

Ruthe Stein, San Francisco Chronicle

It feels so real it hurts, and it's the perfect antidote to all those movies where all sorts of stuff blows up. full review

Stephen Hunter, Washington Post

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. full review

Carina Chocano, Los Angeles Times

Let us say simply that Ms. Reichardt's brand of minimalism leaves me truly joyless.

Andrew Sarris, New York Observer

Old Joy is another minimalist exercise that is at once visually stunning, quietly insightful and more than a little hard to endure.

Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

Kelly Reichardt's minimalist buddy film about two former roommates on an overnight camping trip in Oregon's Cascade Mountains features some of the year's most beautiful scenery and two of its most wooden characters. full review

Jack Mathews, New York Daily News

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. full review

Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com

Every frame of Old Joy bespeaks a yearning for a more user-friendly day, when gas was less than $2.50 a gallon and there was always a used record store to unload your scratched vinyl. full review

Jan Stuart, Newsday
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