Starting out as a somewhat clichéd tale about the strained relationship between a fussy mother and her overbearing son, Gary Lundgren’s Redwood Highway
quickly becomes a charming testament to personal liberation. Held captive in a stuffy retirement community in Southern Oregon, Marie (Shirley Knight) feels stagnant, miserable and estranged from her family. So she decides to ditch the old folks’ home and take off on foot. Her goal: walk 80 miles to see the coast for the first time in 45 years and attend her granddaughter’s wedding as a surprise guest. With just a glance at the synopsis, Redwood Highway
sounds like another incarnation of About Schmidt
. But Marie couldn’t be more unlike Jack Nicholson’s cantankerous, jaded senior citizen. She blossoms and rediscovers her vitality through a series of adventures, from a night at a pool hall spent intoxicated and dressed in a very gaudy cowboy hat to distressing confrontations with her past. Knight shines as the headstrong Marie, suggesting it’s never too late to disconnect from everything else to reconnect with yourself.
Clinton Street Theater. 7 pm Friday, Aug. 1