A Walk in the Woods – Movie 2015

This post contains affiliate links.

Just the other day I had the privilege of watching A Walk in the Woods, the movie adaptation of the book by the same name.  I managed to rack up $5 in library fines in the process, but by gum, I did it!  Another aside — I had to find a time to watch it when little ears wouldn’t be around to hear all of the f-bombs that I knew I’d be hearing.

For those of you who have never read the book, this is a story about an older man’s quest to hike the Appalachian Trail.  He and a friend use the opportunity to have one last hurrah, as it were.  If you want to know more about what I thought of the book, check out my book review.

My thoughts:

First, you should know that I absolutely loved the book!  That means that I was starting from a place of already being in love with the story and the author.  When following a beloved story with a movie, it can be difficult to live up to the high expectations that the reader/viewer already has.

As you know, something is lost when you translate a book into film, and this was no exception.  The movie left out the charm and wit of Bryson’s storytelling, as well as his asides on topics such as the National Forest Service, etc.  If you’ve read the book, this is a nice way to visualize the story and see the embodiment of the characters.  If you watch the movie without reading the book, just know that you are getting the short end of the stick.  The book is so much more complex, nuanced, clever and lovely.  Another thing that just doesn’t come through in the movie is the stink, sweat, toil, fatigue and monotony that was a part of the trail life.  For all of those juicy details you’ll have to pick up the book.

I didn’t care for the way Bill’s wife was portrayed in the movie as being unsupportive.  In reality she was actually very supportive and helped Bill with many aspects of the journey.  However, I think they may have changed her character to give the story some conflict.  On the other side of the coin, we have Katz whose character was magical.  Nick Nolte was a wonderfully grizzled, unsophisticated and crass Katz.  I loved his way of talking and that he threw in the expletives in an unobtrusive manner.  Katz’s dry, sardonic sense of humor comes through really well, too.

There are a few objectionable aspects to the film which you should know about.  In one scene we briefly see Nick Nolte’s derrière from afar.  There’s also regular talk about things of a sexual nature, including a short scene with implied fellatio.  Other than that, the foul language is the most pervasive objectionable aspect.

I recommend this movie to adults who enjoy a low-key, humorous movie about aging.  While the story isn’t anything to write home about, the delivery is amusing.  I feel like a group of older friends would get a kick out of watching this together.

Possible Objections:

  • Brief partial nudity
  • Sexual references
  • Lots of foul language (mostly from Katz)

Rated: R

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER A WALK IN THE WOODS POSTS:

Advertisements

12 Years a Slave – Movie 2013

This post contains affiliate links.

I finally got around to watching 12 Years a Slave, the movie adaptation of the book by the same name.  The first two copies which I requested from the library were scratched, so I couldn’t watch the entire movie.  Copy number three was the charm.

Just to review, this is the story of Solomon Northup, a free man from New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the South.  If you want to know more about the specifics of the story, check out my book review.  The movie follows the book quite closely.  There were a few changes, most of them minor and not detracting from the main story at all.  Of course some things needed to be condensed to keep the length of the movie reasonable.  A benefit to watching the movie over the book is that you lose the old-fashioned language in which the book is written.  The movie emphasizes the events, so you don’t get bogged down with the dated and sometimes awkward language.

My thoughts:

I think that this movie was done wonderfully well.  It’s such a heartbreaking story and that is exactly what it does to you when you watch it–it breaks your heart.  The actors were phenomenal–even the ones you hate do a great job in their role.  Chiwetel Ejiofor, the actor who played Solomon was amazing.  I fully felt that he was Solomon and thought that he conveyed the complex feelings of the character realistically.

There are a few things I should warn you about if you are thinking of seeing this movie.  The dehumanizing and violent treatment of the slaves is very disturbing.  There are a few scenes of graphic violence which show blood spraying and the skin split open from whippings.  There are also a couple of hanging scenes.  I had to unfocus my eyes a few times because I couldn’t bear to just sit there and look at that for more than a couple of seconds.

12 Years a Slave is emotionally raw and it will leave you feeling that way by the end of the movie.  Of course I cried.  You’d have to be a stone not to.  Although it’s painful to watch this type of movie, I think it’s our duty to try and more fully understand the history of our country–even the ugly parts.  We have to learn from our past mistakes.

I highly recommend this movie to adults.

Possible Objections:

  • Nudity
  • A couple of sexual scenes
  • Foul language, including racial epithets
  • Violence, some of it quite graphic

Rated: R

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

 

OTHER 12 YEARS A SLAVE POSTS: