As a long-time hiker, I picked this movie because it looked to fit within my scope of interest. I enjoy seeing the journey's ups and downs of fellow hikers and hearing what lessons they learned along the way. It doesn't take long as a hiker to understand that its not always just the scenery and freedom we are looking for, or received from, in a long term hike. What the movie gave was a very personal journey of not just one man, but a couple, a community, and society in general.
This is less of a movie about a hiking trail as it is about the reason why many decide to hike the trail. The trail gives them that time to question and figure out what they truly want or need. The time to think about those seemingly unrelenting questions about life. Am I hiking this trail for sheer selfish escapism or for a deep and profound lesson to be leaned, both, neither, etc.?
In the lead character's personality, I saw many of my fellow hikers. I saw that same dilemma he faced in so, so many hikers that were out there just trying to figure it all out. So, as I watched the movie, it just struck me as profoundly real...REAL. Real people, real pains, real relationship issues, real parenting fears, real people that pay attention to others and real idiot ignorances spilling over onto others' lives...just the real human condition and how we can put it into perspective. The real things we often look for on the trail to show us the way through.
After reading so many negative comments here it just seems so fitting and ironic. People too often forget how to read between the lines and are too easily distracted by their shiny expectations. But that's just the way of it, isn't it? Not being open to new experiences will always leave you unsatisfied eventually. Therefore, it's simply fitting to see people run down a 'hiking movie' because they wanted to see that shiny adventurous example of a hiker's journey along the trail itself. I fully admit I expected to see that too. But what it delivered was a far better, and more intimate journey that transcends the trail. The entire point of the movie is actually quite ironic in that if there is one thing the long trail taught me, it was to be open to new experiences and lessons, even when they didn't meet my initial wants and expectations.
So while it is true you'll need to watch this without distraction, I recommend it to see a very real and personal journey unfold and still leave you with that sense of the unknown adventure. Watch it for what the filmmaker is saying and for something new...not for your expectations of a 'hiker's movie'.