Old Joy

2006 / 76 min. / US

Old Joy tells the story of two friends, Kurt (Will Oldham) and Mark (Daniel London), as they reunite for a weekend camping trip in the Cascade mountain range and Bagby Hot Springs, east of Portland, Oregon. The film is a story of friendship, loss and alienation. For Mark, the weekend outing offers a respite from the pressure of his imminent fatherhood; for Kurt, it is another chapter in a life lived on the edge--of maturity, and poverty. Tagging along for the ride is Lucy, Mark's mixed breed dog (played by Reichardt's dog of the same name), who simply enjoys the adventure, and is not burdened with the regrets of her two human companions.Two old friends meet up to visit a hot spring out in the woods and spend a night camping out in Oregon. There's no incident or thrill to be found in this slight piece and the viewer's enjoyment depends as much on what they may bring to the film as to what the film delivers. We learn very little about the character's back-story and this allows the viewer to meditate on their own lost friendships and on life's small disappointments.

Old Joy is one of those films that celebrates the small moments in life; the transcendent beauty of nature, the sudden realisation that this is all there is. Old Joy feels like an old friend with its comfortable silences and gentle humour and its worth taking the trip with this film.


Director: Kelly Reichardt
Writers: Jonathan Raymond, Kelly Reichardt


Daniel London
Will Oldham
Tanya Smith


Chlotrudis Awards 2007
Gotham Awards 2006
Independent Spirit Awards 2008
Independent Spirit Awards 2007
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards 2006
Paris Cinema 2006
Rotterdam International Film Festival 2006
Sarasota Film Festival 2006