×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘Life in a Walk’

Father and son embark on a two-week trek through Portugal and Spain in this slight yet sincere documentary.

With:
Yogi Roth, Will Roth

Yogi Roth’s documentary “Life in a Walk” has a simple premise: After his father Will receives a prostate cancer diagnosis, Yogi realizes how much he’d hate to find himself wishing they’d spent more time together, and asks him to come along for a two-week walk along the famous Camino de Santiago through Portugal and Spain. It’s a sweet idea, and for father and son, the experience appears to have been a meaningful one. But it’s never entirely clear why they needed a camera crew tagging along, as the effect is sometimes more akin to watching a stranger’s unusually well-shot vacation footage. With its heart in the right place and nary a single cynical frame, the doc should exert a limited yet appreciative appeal.

Yogi is a former college football player and assistant coach at USC who now works as a cable sports analyst – weirdly, the film seems to assume viewers are intimately familiar with his CV – as well as a veteran traveler. Despite his previous medical worries, Will seems to be in good health and good spirits, and the two tackle the expansive trek like the former athletes they both are.

Along the way, as he notes in voice-over, Yogi hopes to ask Will the kinds of questions sons rarely get around to directly discussing with their fathers – How did he meet his wife? What was his own childhood like? — and he does, albeit usually in the form of stationary, direct-to-camera interviews.

As it turns out, capturing spontaneous heart-to-heart conversations in the midst of days and days of nonstop walking probably isn’t the easiest task for a small, perambulatory crew. (Despite a few glimpses of exposed seams, the film’s two photographers do catch some lovely views of the Portuguese countryside.) But the film is predicated on harnessing the unique insights and exchanges that only come about while people are in motion and out in nature, and it loses something as the walk itself becomes more and more of a scenic backdrop to more staid and conventional documentary techniques.

Yogi and Will both seem like decent men and ideal traveling companions, and to the film’s credit, it never makes any attempt to drum up any sort of contrived, reality-TV-style conflict. But nor does it contain much drama at all; at one point toward the end, Yogi references an argument he and Will had on the road, despite the fact that this argument was not captured nor otherwise referred to in any of the footage on display. Yet it’s impossible to dislike a film this earnest, and even if viewers come away from it with nothing more than an inkling to call their loved ones a bit more often, that’s really all the Roths set out to do.

Film Review: 'Life in a Walk'

Reviewed at WME screening room, Beverly Hills, August 25, 2015. Running time: 76 MINS.

Production: A Life Without Limits Productions presentation. Producer, Ed Borneman. Executive producers, Yogi Roth, Jonathan “JJ” James, Gregor Clark.

Crew: Director, Yogi Roth. Camera (color), Eric Yoon, Chris Seerveld; editor, Sam Young, Ed Borneman; music, Rory Modica, Kate Voegle, Alexander Ebert.

With: Yogi Roth, Will Roth

More Film

  • Jim Gianopulos

    Paramount Chief Jim Gianopulos Unveils Diversity Initiative

    Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos has announced that all studio productions will be required to complete a plan to enhance diversity. Wednesday’s reveal follows Paramount’s commitment to participating in Time’s Up and Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s 4% Challenge. The name is derived from women having directed only 4% of the country’s top grossing movies [...]

  • Leave No Trace

    Oscar Analysts Are Sincere -- but Often Totally Wrong

    With Oscars arriving Feb. 24, we can expect multiple “who will win/who should win” columns. There will also be a flurry of post-show analyses about the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and why members voted the way they did. Since AMPAS never releases polls or voting tallies, these pundits will never be contradicted [...]

  • On Eve of Oscars, Variety’s Film Experts Answer Three Pressing Questions

    On Eve of Oscars, Variety’s Film Experts Answer Three Pressing Questions

    We continue to live in a divided world, with the current political landscape in the United States a seemingly endless hotbed of tumult and acrimony. Issues of racism, bigotry, diversity and gender equality drive the creative players as well, with Oscar-nominated films parlaying said themes into compelling, thought-provoking cinema. To analyze 2018 in big-screen entertainment, [...]

  • Karl Lagerfeld'Lagerfeld Confidential' Photocall at the

    Karl Lagerfeld Remembered at Costume Designers Guild Awards

    The death of fashion and costume designer Karl Lagerfeld cast somewhat of a shadow over the usually jubilant Costume Designers Guild Awards — the only award show where clothes literally steal the spotlight away from actors — which was held at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday night. Here it was obvious that Lagerfeld’s impact on [...]

  • 'Captain Marvel' First Reactions: Early Reviews

    'Captain Marvel' First Reactions: 'The MCU Feels More Complete'

    “Captain Marvel” is soaring following advanced press screenings on Tuesday. Reactions from early showings have hit Twitter, and audiences are keen on Marvel’s first female-led standalone movie. More Reviews TV Review: 'This Giant Beast That Is the Global Economy' Berlin Film Review: 'Flesh Out' Critics are praising Brie Larson’s performance as Carol Danvers, the nostalgic ’90s [...]

  • Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Astrid (America

    Box Office: 'How to Train Your Dragon 3' Flying to $40 Million-Plus Debut

    Universal and DreamWorks’ “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” will soar to the top of the domestic box office when it debuts this weekend in over 4,000 North American theaters. The studio anticipates an opening around $40 million, which would fall just short of the debut of its predecessors, 2010’s “How to Train [...]

  • Times Up Inclusion Red Carpet Fashion

    Stars Like Lena Waithe, Rachel Brosnahan Support Issues Through Fashion

    On a Sunday morning in November 2017, Oscar-nominated costume designer and stylist Arianne Phillips pulled up to CAA for a meeting to which she’d been invited without receiving any other information. “Reese Witherspoon was there at that meeting, and I know her because we worked together on ‘Walk the Line,’” says Phillips, who’s also worked [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content