A Walk in the Woods – A Review

HikeItForward-Final-MediumThe new film, A Walk in the Woods, staring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte opened in theaters this Labor Day weekend. Knowing that I was going out of town visiting family this weekend, I figured that I would catch the film about the Appalachian Trail early next week. When I arrived in West Virginia I was surprised when several family members expressed an interest in seeing the movie. I was excited to go with them and enjoy a re-hiking of my own walk in the woods.

A_Walk_in_the_Woods_PosterI had seen the movie trailer several weeks ago and I was prepared for a mediocre film filled with lackluster humor and a stagnate look at the adventure of the AT. I was pleasantly met with a well-made movie that managed to mix a positive chemistry between Redford and Nolte. The shots of trail were outstanding but too minimal for my expectation. Amicalola Falls, Neal Gap, Blood Mountain , and McAfee Knob were caught on film in a beautiful way and the footage across Fontana Dam was pretty spectacular.

I particularly enjoyed the segment with the know-it-all hiker who expertly criticized the gear and hiking abilities of Katz and Bryson. She captured the spirit of several individuals I met along the way that seemed to have trail education as their ultimate calling in life – sharing the only true way of hiking the trail. From food to equipment to setting up a tent to tying their boots they had an opinion that was really the best and only method for intelligent backpackers.

I was disappointed in the film’s insistence to bring off color sexual references and the immoral experiences of the characters. Redford’s (Bryson) faithfulness to his wife was admirable and well done. His love for his wife was evident before, during, and after the hike. The film receives my kudos for portraying a positive marriage and a loving commitment between husband and wife. On the other hand, Katz’s lack of sexual morality was placed in a humorous context and was both the explicit and underlying topic of most of the film. On yet the other hand (that’A-Walk-in-the-Woods-books three hands isn’t it), Katz, a recovering alcoholic, demonstrates a dedication to sobriety and a loyalty to his friendship with Bryson.
I would give the book two thumbs up (with the warning to readers of the use of profanity) but the movie would only get a rating 5.5 out of 10. The three family members that went with me seemed to enjoy the film more than I did. The movie is rated “R” for good reason and a film that I would restrict to an adult audience.

Movie Poster: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Walk_in_the_Woods_(film)

Book Photo: http://www.auditionsfree.com/2014/walk-woods-robert-redford-featured-roles-atlanta/#

Categories: A Walk in the Woods, Appalachian Trail, Thru-Hike, Trail | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “A Walk in the Woods – A Review

  1. katjandu

    Thank you Dave, I appreciate your comments and will go see the movie.

  2. Just got back from it. I was definitely entertained, even if it didn’t follow the book all that much. I like the comradere between the two, and Bill Bryson’s character came across as very likable. Nolte and Redford did a nice job, and the star was, of course, the scenery, although I do wish there was more of that (less gas stations and highways, more trail in the woods!).

    The hardest part for me was getting over the age of Redford and Nolte, as Bill Bryson wasn’t anywhere close to as old as Redford is. They worked around it in the script, bending the script to the actors instead of the other way around, so it worked in the end.

    I think the language problem is that, in writing, you can gloss some things over (like the language) by hinting at them. It’s hard to hint at straight dialogue.

    • Mike – Thanks for the insight into the film. I totally agree with you. Ron Tipton, Executive Director of the ATC, shared that there were three stars of the film, Redford, Nolte and the AT. I wish the AT had been the lead actor and the other two just supporting actors – unfortunately, it was the other way around.

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