A Walk in the Woods is a feel-good film that triumphs where most most film adaptations fail in bringing a book to life on the big screen.
Directed by Ken Kwapis, Woods is the story of author Bill Bryson (Robert Redford) who decides to hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine with one of his oldest friends, Stephen Katz (Nick Nolte).
The movie shows every triumph and failure of their journey. It is a clever tale of old age and chasing that ever-so-elusive feeling of youth. The film is adapted from Bryson’s book of the same name.
Redford and Nolte fit together perfectly. Both actors portray their roles to the fullest, pushing on the “opposites attract” stereotype.
The movie has both characters moving through some hilarious predicaments. From escaping a big-mouthed hiker to running from an angry husband, Woods is full of clean adult comedy that has you laughing almost the entire movie.
Redford does an excellent job of portraying a man struggling to find himself. As he moves through the trail, his state of mind shifts from wanting to achieve his last hurrah to understanding that time stops for no one and one can only accept it. And along the way Bryson finds what he has been truly looking for: himself.
Nolte also gives a shining performance as Stephen Katz. He gives the role innocence, portraying Katz as a man who means well but often finds distractions that ultimately lead the duo into some of their harshest moments.
Woods (104 minutes, rated R) does excellent of blending coming-of-age comedy with a modern twist, replacing teenagers with a couple of deviant seniors.
While the film maybe not be Oscar-worthy, it is a splendid treat at a time of the year when there aren’t usually many good movies released.