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

Flooding water at West Kelowna Tim Hortons closes lane on Highway 97

This story has been updated with more accurate information. Water flooding from… Continue reading

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

WATCH: Vernon schools see gross effects of vaping

Kids spitting up blood a cause for concern

Melted snow uncovers problematic potholes in Vernon

Temperature swings, precipitation behind cracked pavement, city says

Kelowna grandmother scammed of $14,000 in phone scam

RCMP warn of Grandparent Scam in the Okanagan after December incident

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Campfires no longer permitted at Kelowna scout camp

City of Kelowna said they rejected Camp Dunlop’s fire permit due to stricter bylaws

Province’s oldest practising lawyer shares advice at her 100th birthday party

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Okanagan team leads animal rescue efforts in Australia

Brad Pattison’s team arrived in Sydney on Monday

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

Avalanche danger closes Highway 1 near Chase

The highway is closed in both directions east of Chase

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Alumni trumpet band strikes emotional chord for Vernon girls

Vernon Girls Trumpet Band will be tooting their horn for the 60th Winter Carnival parade

Mayors call for ‘calmness’ as highway rockslide cuts Tofino, Ucluelet off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

Most Read