A Walk In The Woods is a movie I really wanted to enjoy, but one I think was just too tough to pull off.
It’s based on a travel book by Bill Bryson, who I really enjoy as an author. But the transition from memoir to feature film seems to have made a few missteps, even with such a talented main cast.
Bill (Robert Redford) returns to New Hampshire after 10 years living and working in England. Seeking an adventure, he decides to hike the entirety of the Appalachian Trail. After a lot of struggling to find a companion, he’s joined by an old friend Stephen (Nolte), and the two soon find the experience filled with more than they expected.
The best parts of the movie are the interactions between these talented veteran actors, and they do set up a good kind of buddy-relationship that works well in these kinds of films. However, the remainder of it doesn’t really go far beyond the expected: man vs nature; getting back to the simple life, the beauty of the slow life, and a few other themes that are perhaps true, but have been stated so many times that they are hardly profound at this stage.
A Walk In The Woods also doesn’t handle female characters well. Either there to moan and complain or to serve the male leads own needs, this is a rather “masculine” film in terms of the fact that it doesn’t really linger much on what women might care or think about.
It’s not a terrible movie, but A Walk In The Woods doesn’t quite capture the hilarity of Bryson’s writing, and to be such a pale imitation of a great book makes this one look all the worse by comparison.
Travel writer Bill Bryson (Robert Redford) takes a long-lost old friend (Nick Nolte) for a hike along the Appalachian Trail, which stretches more than 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine.