A Walk in the Woods

After spending two decades in England, Bill Bryson returns to the U.S., where he decides the best way to connect with his homeland is to hike the Appalachian Trail with one of his oldest friends.


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  • ★★★★ review by David Burgess on Letterboxd


    We had intended to see A Walk in the Woods in the theatres when it first came out but never got around to it. Which, was why I was excited to see it come up on Netflix, finally. A Walk in the Woods is essentially a road trip, buddy film at it's heart. There is very little in the way of drama throughout the movie... just the heartwarming regrowth of a (best)friendship that had lost it's way over the years. The breath taking scenery that is filmed along the way is an added bonus to the film.. and fantastic portrayals by Robert Redford, Nick Nolte and Emma Thompson...(that women knows how to pull off deep emotions) add to a great movie.

  • ★★★½ review by Jeremiah Dollins on Letterboxd

    This story about travel writer Bill Bryson's attempt to hike the Appalachian trail with an old frienemy is one of the summer's most charming films. Going in I thought I was going to be seeing a Robert Redford cinematic sermon about how we need to preserve our forests. Instead I got a pretty funny buddy comedy about growing old, rediscovering roots, and Nick Nolte's general awesomeness.

    And Nolte is awesome. With his ruddy face, phlegmy voice, and unwashed appearance, he steals the film from the monotone Redford and gives one of my favorite performances of the year. His character is an uncivilized goof, a recovering alkie, and a womanizer, but Nolte injects the stereotype with a humanity that only makes his clichéd behaviors not only believable, but charming. One scene in particular has him trying to seduce an extremely heavy woman at a laundromat while helping her remove her panties after they've gotten trapped in the washing machine agitator. It had me rolling in laughter for its trashy honesty.

    The film's journey is pretty standard stuff, but thankfully the chemistry between Redford and Nolte helps the sentiment go down smooth. This isn't quite as good as last year's old man travelogue LAND HO, but it resonated with me much better than the obvious symbolism on display in WILD.

  • ★★★★ review by Cogerson on Letterboxd

    Why I watched this one? Mr. Robert Redford and Mr. Nick Nolte.

    What is this one about? After spending two decades in England, Bill Bryson returns to the U.S., where he decides the best way to connect with his homeland is to hike the Appalachian Trail with one of his oldest friends.

    My thoughts on this one? I really liked this one. Granted there is not much in the form of a story. But hanging out with Redford and Nolte was a fun time. I bought that these were two guys who knew each other for a very longtime. Movie provides so humor and two excellent performances. Emma Thompson as Redford's is also pretty good. Best moment of the movie for me? At one point Redford and Nolte get stuck on a ledge with water underneath them. I could not help but think of Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid when they were on the ledge. Final thought: An enjoyable movie...even without computer graphics.

    Ranked 38th of 47 movies on my Robert Redford Movie Ranking Page. www.ultimatemovierankings.com/robert-redford-movies/

  • ★★★★ review by CoachKaye42 on Letterboxd

    One thing I love about movies is that they can take you on all different types of adventures! Whether it's a galaxy far, far away, or it's something a little closer to home, the possibilities are virtually endless! Today, I traveled with director Ken Kwapis and stars Robert Redford and Nick Nolte on A Walk in the Woods, based on the novel by Bill Bryson!

    Here's the story. After spending two decades in England, Bill Bryson returns to the U.S., where he decides the best way to connect with his homeland is to hike the Appalachian Trail with one of his oldest friends.

    I gotta say, this was a nice change of pace! The last couple weeks in August were a little crazy in terms of the variety of movies, but this weekend it was good to see something a little easier to digest. Here are my positives and negatives.

    *Possible spoilers ahead*

    First off, absolutely the best part of this movie is the cast! I had such a blast hanging out with Robert Redford and Nick Nolte throughout the film, hiking the Appalachian Trail and getting into all sorts of trouble along the way! Originally the role of Stephen Katz was supposed to be played by legendary actor Paul Newman, but Newman unfortunately passed away in 2008. That would have been fitting, since he and Redford have been friends for decades, but fortunately, that same chemistry seems to have forged quite nicely with Nolte! Emma Thompson does a fantastic job as Catherine Bryson, Bill's wife, and there are some hilarious scene stealing scenes with Nick Offerman as a hiking store clerk and Kristen Schaal as an annoying fellow hiker Mary Ellen!

    The story that inspired both the book and the movie is fascinating! I didn't read the book, or any of Bryson's other works, but after seeing this movie, I'm now considering checking them out! I wanna know more about his travels, the places that he's been to and what it was like living in England for 20 years! If that was the intended goal, then I'd say this movie accomplished it!

    Let's talk about the cinematography, and just how breathtaking it was! I'm so glad I saw this movie in theaters, especially for all the sweeping shots of the trail. I imagine filming all of this must have been a lot of fun, especially on the warmer days when the sun was out. One of my favorite scenes takes place at night, when Bryson and Katz are stranded in a difficult part of the trail, and they're looking up at the stars in the sky! Such a beautiful scene right there!

    Finally, one of the major themes I took away from this movie was that life's not about the destination, it's about the journey, and what you can learn along the way. Although Bryson and Katz never actually completed the trail according to the map, it was still a satisfying adventure that has reignited their friendship!

    Now, in terms of negatives, I only really have one, but it's something worth mentioning.

    Because of the nature of the story, the movie tends to meander into several side plots. Honestly, one of my least favorites involved a pit stop where Bryson's trekking to the nearest K-Mart, while Katz is flirting with an overweight lady in the laundromat. It was a subplot that didn't really go anywhere and was one of the weaker moments in the film.

    The Verdict: A satisfying journey! 80%!

    A Walk in the Woods was just what I needed after the disappointment that was last weekend. If you were a fan of last year's Wild and have a soft spot for Grumpy Old Men, then I think you'll dig this too! Robert Redford and Nick Nolte make a great comedic duo, and I'd love to see them collaborate again at least one more time in the future! This will probably be the best movie you see this weekend if you don't the re-releases of Dope and Inside Out!

  • ★★★½ review by Wilson on Letterboxd

    I enjoyed this way more than it probably deserves. But when you have a relaxed Robert Redford and an incomprehensible Nick Nolte strolling about some amazing scenery, with a plinky-plonky score and some genuine laughs, then this film was a charmer. Nolte and Redford remain two of my favourite actors to watch on screen, together they are wonderful.

    This is Robert Redford in his old-age adventurer mode. All is Lost is the award worthy masterpiece. A Walk in the Woods is the comic entertainment sidekick.

    Directed without much precision, easygoing, even the walk seems fairly simple, which is impressive considering the ages of the two actors, but this just ambles along with charm. Particularly as Nolte seems unaware that this film should be a PG and swears constantly throughout it.

    Like a likeable Sideways.

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