Birthdate: February 14, 1977
Birthplace: Goshen, Indiana
Jim Strouse (birthname: James C. Strouse) is an American independent filmmaker who enjoyed early success with films premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, whose body of work since 2005 has generally alternated between writer-only and writer-director features.
His feature debut was as a screenwriter with Lonesome Jim (2005), which was based on Strouse’s life, with star Casey Affleck portraying Strouse’s autobiographical character of Jim (moving back home to Strouse’s hometown of Goshen, Indiana) under Steve Buscemi’s direction, with co-stars Liv Tyler, Kevin Corrigan, Mary Kay Place, and Seymour Cassel, and premiering to acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival.
As writer-director, Strouse made a triumphant return to Sundance (winning the coveted Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, as well as the audience award for the U.S. dramatic competition) with Grace is Gone (2007), with lead star-producer John Cusack, Alessandro Nivola, Marisa Tomei, and Mary Kay Place, bought by the Weinstein Company for $4 million in a bidding war; but after a solid festival run including Telluride, Deauville, and Toronto, TWC failed to market the movie, resulting in a weak $50,000 domestic gross. Strouse’s next screenwriting credit was as one of the several writers of the anthology movie, New York, I Love You (2008), writing the transition pieces with credited co-writers Hall Powell and Israel Horovitz, and directed by Randy Balsmeyer.
Writer-director Jim Strouse’s second feature was the sports comedy, The Winning Season (2009), starring Sam Rockwell, Shareeka Epps, Emily Rios, Rooney Mara, and Emma Roberts, and premiering to mixed reviews at the Sundance Film Festival. Better reviewed—but once again a commercial failure ($67,000 domestically)—was Strouse’s third writing-directing feature, People Places Things (2015), with Jemaine Clement, Regina Hall, and Jessica Williams, and once more premiering at the Sundance Film Festival to good reviews.
Strouse returned to the world premiere stage of Sundance in 2016 as a writer of the comedy-drama, The Hollars, with John Krasinski as director/producer/co-star, as well as Sharlto Copley, Charlie Day, Richard Jenkins, Anna Kendrick, and Margo Martindale, but which lost money (only $1 million return on a $3.8 budget) for distributor Sony Pictures Classics. Jim Strouse was back the following year at Sundance as writer-director of The Incredible Jessica James (2017), starring Jessica Williams, Chris O’Dowd, and Lakeith Stanfield, receiving an 89% Rotten Tomatoes score and selling to streamer Netflix.
After a six-year absence from features, Strouse returned as writer-director of Love Again (2023), the English-language remake of German writer-director Karoline Herfurth’s 2016 romantic drama, SMS für Dich, starring Priyanka Chopra-Jones, Sam Heughan, and Celine Dion, and released by Sony to poor reviews.
Jim Strouse was born and raised in Goshen, Indiana. Strouse has one brother, Timothy Strouse. Strouse studied film and graduated from Columbia University. Strouse is married to novelist-producer Galt Niederhoffer; the couple has two children, Magnolia and Grover.
Unique Credit: Jim Strouse’s Grace is Gone features the only music score which Clint Eastwood composed for a movie he didn’t direct; Eastwood received two Golden Globe nominations, including Best Song.