"A Year with the Redwoods"
Directed by Lasse Hallström
Written by Kenneth Lonergan
Produced by Art Linson and William Pohlad
Distributed by Paramount Vantage
Cinematography by Eric Gautier
Editing by Lisa Zeno Churgin
Music by Aaron Zigman
“The Voice of the Redwoods” written and sung by Emmylou Harris
Viggo Mortensen as Gary Hanson
AnnaSophia Robb as Kelly Hanson
Amy Ryan as Jo Hanson
Tagline: "It takes one person to show the world the beauty of our wildlife"
Synopsis: Kelly Hanson sits in the hot courtroom as the judge finalized the divorce of her parents Gary and Jo. Gary was a former realtor from Sacramento who gave up his job to be with the wildlife and live up north in the redwood forests. His wife Jo, a struggling accountant, left him for leaving his high paid job and took Kelly with her. After their divorce was finalized, the judge had ordered Jo to let Kelly live with her father for a year before she’ll have custody over her. Jo agrees, and Gary takes his young daughter through the scenic California landscape up north to his home in Klamath.
Klamath was a small town with a population of 600 by the redwood forests. Gary ’s cabin was located outside of town, and when Kelly arrived she didn’t like the old cabin and knew she was going to hate living here for a year. Her hate lasted for two months until her father decides to take her on a walk into the forest. As they walk Gary shows her the majestic mountains and the tall trees and the wildlife. When they sat on a rock near a river Kelly apologizes to her father for her hatred and in return he tells her why he left his job for the wilderness. Gary tells Kelly he left his old life because the wilderness was a passion of his that he loved when he was a child, and he vowed to return there sometime in his life. He felt that time was now, and he knew that his city loving wife wouldn’t understand how he felt. Kelly, surprised by his story, gives him a hug and tells him that’ll she try to understand his feelings for the wild. As the months went by, Kelly would come home from school everyday and she and her father would walk throughout the many redwood forests and see the beauty, and every time they do she falls in love with the wild, especially the enormous redwood trees.
On the last week of Kelly’s ending period Jo comes and visit them to see how their doing. She finds Kelly asleep in her bed and leaves her to find Gary . She walks through the forest and is amazed by everything she sees. Gary comes up and surprises her, and the two begin to walk through the forest. He tells her how the year went and how Kelly loves the forest, and Jo said that she can see why and is completely in love with what sees. She asks Gary to show her more, and the two walk and walk until it was night time. As they got home, Kelly was awake and she hugs her mother. Kelly asks her to stay for the rest of the week, and she agrees to but only if she see more. During the rest of the week they spend days and nights out hiking and camping and laughing until the year was over. That morning, as Gary and Kelly were eating and saying their goodbyes on the porch, Jo tells Gary that she can stay with him, and that she wants to stay as well and be with him, her daughter, and the redwoods. Gary sheds tears as he hugs his wife, and the three walk into the forest hand in hand, touching every single redwood tree they go by.
What the Press would say:
We’ve all seen many films that “preach” about nature or that show a feel good father and daughter relationship. “A Year with the Redwoods” is more than that. This compelling film directed by Academy Award nominee Lasse Hallström is a moving work of art that’ll leave you in love with the characters and nature. The cast is a small but collective group of fine actors that makes this film one of the best acted films we’ve seen in a long time. Academy Award nominee Viggo Mortensen leads this outstanding group as Gary Hanson, an ex-realtor who quits his so-called boring job and leaves it for life in the wilderness. His performance is heartwarming and moving, and the scene that’ll touch anyone heart is his story scene where he tells Kelly why he left. His colorful and dramatic descriptions of the wild and his moving emotions is Mortensen at his best, and will definitely be a sure fire Oscar contender. The leading lady, or should we say the young leading lady, is none other than AnnaSophia Robb. In this film she plays Gary ’s daughter Kelly, a girl who doesn’t appreciate the wild and at first behaves like her city-loving mother. It wasn’t until her walk in the forest till she sees she’s wrong and instantly starts to see the wild in its true beauty. Audiences will love the scene where she sits by the fire at night with her father and mother and tells them that she loves it here and doesn’t want to leave. Her facial expressions and movement along with her tears will bring this little star into fame once more, and will possibly make her one of the youngest contenders ever in the Oscar race. Finally, the last tour de force performer in this film is the lovely Academy Award nominee Amy Ryan. Though she’s only in the film at the beginning fifteen minute court scene and the last hour, she stills gives a great performance as a waitress mother who can’t understand her nature loving husband until she had seen it herself. Her most beloved scene comes in the end, which is by far the best ending scene this year, in which she tells Gary and Kelly how foolish she was for not seeing in what he sees and tells them that she wants to come back into his life and live with them in the forest. Everyone in America agrees that “A Year with the Redwoods” is an instant masterpiece that’ll be remember from time to time, and with it’s outstanding script written by Kenneth Lonergan, the amazing cinematography, which captured the beauty of the forests perfectly, the wonderful editing, a soothing score by Aaron Zigman, and a touching song by Emmylou Harris, it’ll be a film to love and embrace this coming March.
For Your Consideration
Best Director – Lasse Hallström
Best Actor in a Leading Role – Viggo Mortensen
Best Actress in a Leading Role – AnnaSophia Robb
Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Amy Ryan
Best Original Screenplay
Best Film Editing
Best Original Score
Best Original Song – “The Voice of the Redwoods” by Emmylou Harri