If you liked Nebraska, you’d probably also like Redwood Highway

by Martin Hafer

While I wouldn’t necessarily say you should rush out to see it, I did enjoy seeing Redwood Highway and think it’s worth your time. It’s just come out on DVD and I got my copy through Netflix. It’s not the sort of film that has huge box office appeal, but it is very enjoyable and reminds me of one of my favorite Best Picture nominees last year, Nebraska.

Shirley Knight is not a household name, but Miss Knight is a very familiar face. Additionally, she’s been nominated for a lot of awards–including twice for the Oscar. Here, she plays Marie Vaughn–an elderly woman who is incredibly hard-headed and who is refusing to retire gracefully. She also is a pain for her family, as her independence and strong opinions make her very difficult to say the least.

Redwood Highway
Directed by
Gary Lundgren
Shirley Knight, Tom Skerritt, Danforth Comins
Release Date
28 June 2014
Martin’s Grade: B+

When the film begins, Marie is living (quite against her will) in a retirement home when she receives a visit from her son. He invites her to her granddaughter’s wedding and pig-headed Marie refuses to come–mostly just to be ornery. She says that 22 is just too young to marry and she doesn’t approve. However, after the granddaughter calls Marie and leaves her a very angry message, Marie has a change of heart. Well, it’s not a complete change of heart–she will go to the wedding but on her terms. As for her terms, the nutty lady decides, without telling anyone, that she’ll walk to the wedding and take a side trip to the seashore! It’s many miles and Marie isn’t exactly a young girl–and the trip just seems ill-advised to say the least.

What follows is a low-key but interesting adventure–much like The Straight Story or Nebraska. Nothing exactly earth-shattering occurs, but Marie meets up with a variety of mostly nice people who help her on her trek. Mind you–Marie won’t let anyone drive her to the wedding–this must be on her terms! Will she make it and what could possibly go wrong?

I liked this film though I will quickly admit that it’s not exactly the sort of film the average movie-goer would watch. There are no explosions, no insane plot twists nor any love interest. It’s just a nice slice of life sort of a film where you meet a lot of interesting characters. I love this sort of ‘little movie’– the type that just doesn’t seem to care if it’s a blockbuster or not–it just wants to entertain. And, entertaining this film certainly is.