Old Joy

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Old Joy
Directed byKelly Reichardt
Produced by
Screenplay byKelly Reichardt
Based onOld Joy
by Jonathan Raymond
StarringWill Oldham
Daniel London
Music byYo La Tengo
CinematographyPeter Sillen
Edited byKelly Reichardt
  • Film Science
  • Van Hoy/Knudsen Productions
  • Washington Square Films
Release date
  • January 2006 (2006-01) (Sundance Film Festival)
Running time
76 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$300 000
Box office$399 908 [1]

Old Joy is a 2006 American road movie written and directed by Kelly Reichardt and based on a short story by Jonathan Raymond.[2] The original soundtrack for the film is by Yo La Tengo and included on the compilation soundtrack album They Shoot, We Score.


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. Kurt lives a hand-to-mouth hippie lifestyle, while Mark has moved on from that scene and gotten a proper job and a house. 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. Tagging along for the ride is Lucy, Mark's dog, played by Reichardt's dog of the same name.

Critical reception[edit]

Old Joy received highly favorable reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 84% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 90 reviews — with the consensus that "a serene, melancholy beauty permeates this meditative film."[3] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 84 out of 100, based on 24 reviews.[4] The New York Times called it "one of the finest American films of the year".[5]

The film appeared on several critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2006.[6]

The film also won awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the Rotterdam International Film Festival, and the Sarasota Film Festival. Neil Kopp won the Producer's Award at the Independent Spirit Awards for his work on Old Joy and Paranoid Park.

In reviewing The Criterion Collection's Blu-ray release of the film, critic Svet Atanasov of Blu-ray.com was disappointed with Old Joy, stating that though Reichardt is a gifted director, "it is so introverted that it quickly creates the impression that it wishes to be left alone.... instead of bringing the viewer closer to the campers the film essentially gives them more space to figure out how they feel about their friendship and lives."[7]


  1. ^ https://www.the-numbers.com/movie/Old-Joy#tab=summary
  2. ^ Manohla Dargis, 'A Journey Through Forests and a Sense of Regret', New York Times, September 20, 2006, [1].
  3. ^ "Old Joy Movie Reviews, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
  4. ^ "Old Joy (2006): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
  5. ^ Dargis, op cit
  6. ^ "Metacritic: 2006 Film Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2008-04-05. Retrieved 2008-05-05.
  7. ^ Atanasov, Svet (January 4, 2020). "Old Joy Blu-ray Review". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved April 16, 2020.

External links[edit]