Robert Redford and Nick Nolte star in A Walk in the Woods.

Robert Redford and Nick Nolte star in A Walk in the Woods.

Reel Reviews: Odd couple goes for a trudge in the woods

A Walk in the Woods is a tidy, fun little film about nothing in particular.

  • Sep. 20, 2015 8:00 p.m.

Celebrated travel author Bill Bryson (Robert Redford) returns to America after living a decade in England.

In an attempt to reunite with his homeland and hopefully inspire himself, he decides to hike the Appalachian Trail, all 2,180 miles of it. He’s pushing 70 years of age.

His wife (Emma Thompson) and family think he’s lost his mind, as do all of Bryson’s friends except Stephen Katz (Nick Nolte), an estranged friend that Bryson hadn’t spoken to since they were young men. Katz joins Bryson on his adventure, taking A Walk in the Woods, hoping to put some time and distance between him and his inevitable past catching up with him.

We say, “It’s a tidy, fun little film about nothing in particular.”

TAYLOR: This is like any other film in which an inexperienced woodsman bites off more than he can chew, but adds an “odd couple” aspect. There are moments of levity, quite a few laughs, no real message, except perhaps for “life is meant to be lived.”

I don’t know how old Bryson was when he went on this trek, but Redford is 76. I thought, much like Bryson’s relatives did, “Is this guy crazy?” However, Nick Nolte makes Redford look like an Ironman.

Nolte, at 74, is completely believable as a man who has no business hiking in the woods.

HOWE: Redford and Nolte certainly are an odd couple as you put it, but it seemed to work and work well. A Walk in the Woods isn’t flashy, nor does it have mega-buck special effects, what it does have is a refreshing look at life and a smattering of comedy. I laughed good and hard a few times. The film is getting a bit of a battering by the critics and I don’t understand why, it’s fun, it’s entertaining, and kept me entertained the entire time.

TAYLOR: Oh well, what do critics know? A Walk in the Woods is a cinematic stroll, it’s pretty quiet, very light (even in its darker moments) and completely banal. Yet in that banality is a universality. I think everyone, regardless of their culture or age, can appreciate the concepts of the film: man, nature, friendship, love, fear. There’s just not a lot happening. I think the most interesting thing in the film was Nolte’s gasping. Still, I smiled a lot and nothing annoyed me. A Walk in the Woods is somewhat charming.

HOWE: A Walk in the Woods is well written. There’s the odd bit of swearing but it works well in the dialogue. All too often writers throw curse words into a script for no good reason. Here it’s not out of place, not over used. Redford and Nolte work well off each other. Some of the people they meet on their trip are a little peculiar and the shots of the Appalachian Trail are simply stunning. Put that all together and it becomes a nice stroll in a national park.

– Taylor give A Walk in the Woods 3.5 artistic licences out of 5.

– Howe gives it 4 backpacks out of 5.

– Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon. Their column appears in The Morning Star Friday and Sunday.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Okanagan Regional Library is holding a pair of online contests for its young readers. (File photo)
Okanagan Regional Library challenges young readers

Pair of contests online aimed at kids aged up to 18

Vernon Winter Carnival Cop John Fawcett (left) and Carnival director Paul Cousins are at Vernon’s Real Canadian Superstore on Anderson Way until 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 24, selling raffle tickets for a 2019 Polaris Snowmobile plus $1,000 worth of gear from BDM Motorsports. Tickets are $20. Only 5,000 tickets are being sold. The draw will be made Wednesday, Feb. 17. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Vernon Winter Carnival prize sled on display

Grand prize in Carnival raffle draw is 2019 Polaris snowmobile and $1,000 in gear; tickets $20

With a hockey stick and ice bucket to ensure social distancing, volunteers with the Kal Rotary Club collected cash during a drive-thru donation event in Vernon Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Kal Rotary seeks local non-profits in need of Dream Fund support

The deadline to apply for this year’s $105K in Dream funds has been extended to Feb. 28

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

(Hal Brindley - Dreamstime)
Enderby farmers caught between coyotes and bylaw tickets

The Smith family is stuck in a Catch-22 between protecting their livestock and incurring noise complaints

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

A Dodge Ram pickup similar to this one was involved in a hit-and-run in Lake Country on Saturday, Jan. 16. (Crime Stoppers photo)
Stolen truck involved in Okanagan hit-and-run

Incident happened on Highway 97 in Lake Country just before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Kelowna Fire Department. (FILE)
Early morning downtown Kelowna dumpster fire deemed suspicious

RCMP and the Kelowna Fire Department will conduct investigations into the cause of the blaze

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Most Read