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Old Joy

Posted by martinteller on July 2, 2011

Kelly Reichardt’s film prior to Wendy and Lucy isn’t as engaging or moving, but it has some fine qualities. Kind of a My Road Trip With Andre, it’s about two somewhat estranged friends going in search of a hot springs. Mark is married with a baby on the way, and listens to political talk radio. Kurt is more of a free spirit, bouncing around and living something of a drifter lifestyle. The film explores the relationship between these two guys in subtle touches, and I could relate. I have and have had friends like Kurt (including one coincidentally named Kurt), guys who smoke a little too much weed and talk a lot of vague nonsense. And the film explores the gentle sorrow that comes with a friendship slowly disintegrating, because even though your pals may bore you or exasperate you, they’re still your friends. Reichardt really captures the beauty of Oregon as the two get further away from the city and go to more meditative places. Although I have to point out a minor gaffe that only an Oregonian would notice: you can’t pump your own gas in this state. I mean, you probably could if there’s no one around to yell at you about it, but you’re not supposed to. Anyway, I wasn’t exactly enamored with the movie but I did enjoy its quiet rhythms.  Rating: 7


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