Josiah Morgan’s review published on Letterboxd:
Old Joy is the definition of a perfect film.
We open with a long silence, accompanied only by the pitch perfect score by Yo La Tengo. It is not long before the ringing of a bell breaks the silence, and slowly signals the beginning of the trance we are about to be pulled into.
A phone call. A car ride. A conversation. Silence. Suddenly, a phone rings. Again, it breaks the silence. It pulls us out of a trance, but only momentarily. Just minutes later, we're pulled straight back in to the lives of these people as they sit together, next to a camp-fire. They talk. About lives, about commitments, and about how we live our lives and interact with these commitments - because 'like, having a kid... it's so for real'
The camera is meticulously placed, showing every detail. We pick up on everything, our whole surroundings, even what isn't shown. We can smell the trees. We can feel the wind.
Suddenly I feel hopeless. You may feel like there's something next to you, something near you, but I suddenly feel empty. I know people like this, I've lived with people like this, I've seen people like this and people like this really, really upset me. But at the end of the day, we're all like this.
The title is fitting. Wow.