A long-time passion project for its star Robert Redford (who was at one time slated to direct the film as well), A Walk in the Woods adapts travel writer Bill Bryson’s acclaimed memoir of the same name into a playful road (or trail) movie about growing older and reconnecting with your past.
Redford stars as Bryson, who returns home to the US after two decades in England and undertakes a 2,000-mile hike along the Appalachian Trail to get reacquainted with his native country. The trip is not without its risks, however, and his wife (Emma Thompson, The Love Punch, Saving Mr. Banks) demands that he find someone to accompany him on his journey. Unable to rustle up a suitable companion, Bryson turns as a last resort to Stephen Katz (Nick Nolte, Hateship Loveship, The Company You Keep), a long-estranged and out-of-shape friend who is struggling with alcoholism.
The pair of mismatched septuagenarians soon discovers that their trek is far more demanding than a simple “walk in the woods.” Confronted with eccentric fellow hikers and townspeople (including turns from Mary Steenburgen and Nick Offerman), unanticipated forces of nature, and the challenges of each other’s company, Bryson and Katz manage against all odds to bring out the best in each other and overcome the obstacles that face them.
Staying true to the spirit of its source, the film is filled with the same wry, insightful humour that has made Bryson a household name. With standout performances by two legendary actors and the natural beauty of the Eastern United States on full display, A Walk in the Woods is an affecting and memorable journey.