Old Joy ★★★★

Watching this felt so therapeutic. A lot of other directors would have added some stylization or quirky dialogue for what's essentially a pretty straightforward road trip film. But Kelly Reichardt's way of creating this observant realism (not the Micheal Haneke kind of realism where you feel like your slowly dying) that is weirdly enthralling. I feel the thing that keeps this from feeling like something you would find from an amateur mumblecore filmmaker is the atmosphere. I used to visit my grandmother in Louisiana during Christmas and this film gave me that exact small town next to the wide-open wilderness feeling. It's so simple and understated, but the look of the film, the naturalistic performances and how held back some of it is really felt sincere. And that's the main thing I notice with Reichardt's filmography, that enveloping sincerity. Some of her films are streaming on Filmstruck and I'm very tempted to marathon the rest of them because she might be one of my favorite working directors.

84/100

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