Universal acclaim - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 24
  2. Negative: 1 out of 24
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    Without relying on dialogue, and once again making good but sparing use of Yo La Tengo's toasty guitar soundtrack, Reichardt proves herself a filmmaker with a masterful sense of the expressive purity of the passing moment.
  2. 88
    Kurt and Mark's trip to those hot springs is a figurative return to Eden. Anyone who's had a disillusioning reunion with a moony old friend knows what Mark discovers: They're too old to stay that innocent. None of this hit me until after the movie ended. But it hit me hard: You can't go home again.
  3. Reviewed by: Jason Anderson
    A precise, subtle and emotionally affecting portrait of the fraying friendship between two men, director Kelly Reichardt's Old Joy is an increasingly rare sort of American independent film: It aspires to be something other than a Hollywood movie with less money.
  4. It's in all the moments where little happens that Reichardt is most amazing, investing even a gas-station pit stop with perfect emotional pitch.
  5. For all the ephemeral pleasure of the company of old friends, there is a chasm between them and the dynamics shift from moment to moment. The beauty of the film is how director Kelly Reichardt brilliantly captures those moments with lucid simplicity.
  6. 91
    A spare, trembling lyric poem of a movie that uses stillness and facial blips the way melodramas use showdowns and action films big bangs.
  7. 100
    Old Joy is only 76 minutes long, but it has the contemplative power of Buddhist meditation. Reichardt gives us long, stoned takes of rural roads; shots of birds, insects and slugs in the spectacular Oregon rain forest; interludes with Mark's dog, Lucy. Some viewers may well be bored, or monumentally irritated, by this. I found it masterly, riveting.
  8. 100
    The movie's scale is minuscule, but the physical and emotional landscapes it travels are as broad, deep and mysterious as the human psyche itself.
  9. A triumph of modesty and of seriousness that also happens to be one of the finest American films of the year.
  10. Miniaturist in its level of detail and evocatively abstract, Old Joy 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.
  11. It feels so real it hurts, and it's the perfect antidote to all those movies where all sorts of stuff blows up.
  12. A good Listless Film carries a double melancholy for all: it makes us sad for its characters and sad for the world that has thus affected them. Old Joy is such a film.
  13. 90
    This quiet, elegiac road movie hinges on a few beautifully underplayed scenes between Daniel London and Will Oldham.
  14. 91
    Old Joy doesn't try for too much, but its subtle victories leave plenty to savor.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 51 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 27
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 27
  3. Negative: 16 out of 27
  1. WillN.
    Sep 23, 2007
    Pace is so slow that I could have been real time.
  2. MichaelG.
    Sep 8, 2007
    This film moves slowly, but it stayed with me. I woke up wondering how the characters were doing.
  3. ChadS.
    May 3, 2007
    What happens at the hot springs, stays at the hot springs. Even we don't know. "Old Joy", a film that could be described as "Chuck & What happens at the hot springs, stays at the hot springs. Even we don't know. "Old Joy", a film that could be described as "Chuck & Buck Go Camping", wisely goes for the shot of omission after Kurt(Will Oldham) goes for Mark's shoulders. Lucy knows. As Kurt and Mark head towards their car, Mark's clingy dog walks well ahead of the two men. Hmmm. In the opening scene, we see Mark(Daniel London), a Buddhist, meditating on his lawn. About what? Hmmm. All those tracking shots of rural Oregon as seen through their moving vehicle isn't there for just scenery's sake. It's what both men are looking at as they're thinking. There's sexual tension in all the objects that appear through the car window, and later, in the woods. I don't know what Terrence Malick has in mind when he shoots nature in close-up, but this filmmaker is telling a narrative about latent homosexuality through the use of sublimated objects. That slug, that bird, not to mention, the trees(read: phallic symbol), are all used as foreshadowing to the moment when Kurt gives Mark a massage. "Old Joy" is not a peaceful journey into the country. It just might be about the sham of marriage. This is scary stuff. Full Review »