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A strong sense of: so what? … Highway One.

Highway One review – lo-fi indie movie gets lost on way to the party

Jaclyn Bethany’s tale of a New Year’s Eve shindig sets up promising storylines that go nowhere in laborious and muddy fare

I t would be great to say that this lo-fi movie from Mississippi film-maker Jaclyn Bethany, set in a single location at a small-town New Year’s Eve party, was an indie find. Sadly it’s like a flabbily conceived and impossibly indulgent student film, and the meta-level of reality disclosed at the end is supercilious; it adds nothing to this unfunny and laborious piece of work with its muddy lighting, flat sound design and torpid, almost indistinguishable performances. However, the appearance of child actor Ivy George, playing a little girl who’s been sent by her family to complain about the party’s noise (and concealing a hidden motive) does pep things up a little.

The drama takes place in the Californian town of Cambria on Highway One between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Maria (Aisha Fabienne Ross) is one of many young people at this party vocal-frying their lines to each other. She is disturbed (though the acting here doesn’t give much of a clue) to hear that someone called Nina (Juliette Labelle) is going to show up; this was the woman who left the neighbourhood 10 years before to follow her dream of acting in New York: Maria once had feelings for Nina. What will happen when they see each other again?

The answer, bafflingly, is … not a whole heck of a lot. There seems to be no great emotional charge to their reunion, which was promising so much, and the drama does not concentrate all that clearly on it in any case, constantly straying away to all the other silly, unfunny little subplots: a guy with a mysterious Russian accent, an ethereal young woman dating her professor, a flippant and haughty Brit whingeing about being dumped. There is a strong sense of: so what?

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Highway One Reviews

highway one movie review

The end asks a lot but proves worth it for how it will stay with you long after it's over.

Full Review | Original Score: 9/10 | Nov 5, 2021

highway one movie review

[An] unfunny and laborious piece of work with... muddy lighting, flat sound design and torpid, almost indistinguishable performances.

Full Review | Original Score: 1/5 | Nov 2, 2021

Highway One Image

Highway One

By Bobby LePire | November 5, 2021

Way back in 2007, there was a successful series of shorts about a cat with ennui. The black-and-white videos were made in France, and audiences everywhere seemed to instantly fall in love with Henri, the cat. Everyone but me, that is. I found the few I watched to be obnoxious and grating. I was not bemused by a bored cat looking out the window. My wife contends that this is due to my lack of anxiety or gloominess in my life; like Newt Scamander says, “…worrying means you suffer twice.”

All that to say that the first 15-minutes of Jaclyn Bethany’s Highway One did not grab my attention. It’s so stuffed with ennui I had instant flashbacks to the Henri show (not what it was called). It’s all apathetic onlookers and disaffected youth gathering together at Anna’s (Marié Botha) house on New Year’s Eve because… it’s expected? When one is over life already, the luster of a party seems nonexistent, so why even bother?

highway one movie review

“… her friends are excited to see Nina, save for Maria, as her re-emergence dredges up old feelings …”

But just when I was thinking of writing off the project entirely, something unexpected and magical happened: Nina (Juliette Labelle) walks into the house. With that simple act, she enlivens not only all her old high school friends, who haven’t seen Nina in years but lifts the story out of the doldrums, and things become utterly engrossing from here to the thought-provoking ending. To clarify, her friends are excited to see Nina, save for Maria (Aisha Fabienne Ross), as her re-emergence dredges up old feelings that Maria pushed to the side and never addressed. Now, throughout this night, relationships will begin and end, resentments tested anew, and no one will leave the party the same.

Highway One doesn’t just get going because the reappearance of an old friend (or new acquaintance to some) pushes the townies out of their comfort zones, but also because Labelle is luminous in the role. The casual way she enters hides how big of a deal this is, and the ease with which she banters with everyone offers the small delights of being at a real party getting to know your new best friends. Then, she gets to show her true range as the narrative begins to wrap up, though explaining how would constitute a massive spoiler.

Highway One (2021)

Directed and Written: Jaclyn Bethany

Starring: Juliette Labelle, Aisha Fabienne Ross, Marié Botha, Elizabeth Yeoman, Joe Gillette, Vincent Santvoord, etc.

Movie score: 9/10

Highway One Image

"…will stay with you long after it's over."

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Highway One

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highway one movie review

Juliette Labelle (Nina) Aisha Fabienne Ross (Maria) Vincent Santvoord (Nick) Marié Botha (Anna) Dan Shaked (Andrei) Elizabeth Yeoman (Sasha) Joe Gillette (Alexander) Bailey Edwards (Dem) Belle Aykroyd (Martha) Stella Baker (Natasha) Greta Bellamacina (Ira) Sadie Scott (Paulie) Nhumi Threadgill (Antonia) Colette McDermott (Agnetha) Van Cummerford (Benny) Maeve Whalen (Anni) Megan Penn (Petra) Ivy George (Dori)

Jaclyn Bethany

Estranged friends Maria and Nina have spent years apart, but are brought back together at a New Year's party off the Highway One.

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Highway One

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Highway one.

2021 Directed by Jaclyn Bethany

Feelings are never lost.

In Cambria, California, Anna is hosting a New Year’s Eve party. Nina, a long-gone high school friend, makes an appearance at the party after returning to Cambria from New York. Maria, one of the guests, struggles with the feelings Nina’s presence evokes and with facing the party goers: a gaggle of eccentric millennials.

Stella Baker Aisha Fabienne Ross Ivy George Colette McDermott Belle Aykroyd Greta Bellamacina Bailey Edwards Marié Botha Juliette Labelle

Director Director

Jaclyn Bethany

Writer Writer

Releases by date, 01 apr 2021.

  • Theatrical limited

26 Aug 2022

08 nov 2021, 20 sep 2022, releases by country.

  • Premiere SBIFF

86 mins   More at IMDb TMDb Report this page

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TheMovieWaffler.com

Review by TheMovieWaffler.com ★

Review by Benjamin Poole

New Year’s Eve: the absolute worst night of the calendar. Hallowe’en, Xmas, even Harvest Day in school have been and gone, and then the dark spectre of NYE rises, the year’s final demonstration that its season of wintery fun which everyone works towards is definitively OVER for another year. NYE party? A packed group of once-a-year drinkers in an overpriced pub or, more poignantly, exhausted friends/family in a tired house incongruously festooned with out of date tinsel, where everyone is restlessly expecting something, anything to happen but it never ever does? No thanks. The very definition of forced fun. And in writer/director Jaclyn Bethany’s Highway One we are to spend it with (God help) ‘a gaggle…

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Exclusive: Highway One Trailer is a Love Letter to California

Highway One is coming to On Demand on September 20, 2022.

Arriving on screens from BKE Productions in association with Neon Heart Productions is Highway One , the romantic drama from Emmy Award-winner Jaclyn Bethany ( Indigo Valley ) about youth, love, and self-discovery. The 2021 Santa Barbara International Film Festival Critic’s Pick will arrive in select theaters on August 26, 2022, and will be available on DVD and On Demand on September 20, 2022, from Indican Pictures. At MovieWeb, fans of the Dramedy, LGBTQ, and Indie genres can get an exclusive look at the Highway One trailer now.

Highway One had its world premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in April 2021. Later that year, Phil Hunt and Lucy Fenton’s Bohemia Media picked up UK distribution rights to the indie film from 2021's Cannes market, according to Deadline . Produced by Rebecca Morandi and executive produced by Neon Heart Productions, Highway One was written and directed by Bethany, the movie stars Aisha Fabienne Ross ( The Danish Girl ), Greta Bellamacina ( Impossible Feet as Barbie), and Stella Baker ( The Republic of Sarah ) in the story of a New Year's Eve party in rural California (if you know the state of California, then you know Highway One refers to the Pacific Coast Highway or PCH) where a group of millennials reunites, sparking the love between two women and unfolding mayhem.

The official synopsis of Highway One from Indican Pictures reads:

In rural California, Anna (Marié Botha, Dickinson ) is hosting a New Year's Eve party. Nina (Juliette Labelle, Nighthawks), a long-gone friend from high school, unexpectedly shows up, bringing out the sexual yearnings of Maria (Aisha Fabienne Ross, The Witcher). Over the course of the evening, Maria struggles with her newfound feelings and facing the partygoers: a gaggle of eccentric millennials.

Also starring in the film are Ivy George ( Big Little Lies ), Bailey Edwards ( Bright ), Sadie Scott ( Crshd ), Belle Aykroyd ( Workin’ Moms ), Dan Shaked ( The Mysteries of Laura ), and Colette McDermott ( Hollywood ).

Related: Exclusive Clip: Empire's Alexandra Grey's GLAAD-Nominated Gossamer Golds Hit On Demand August 23

Highway One Is a Love Letter to California

Highway One is set in the small California town of Cambria, where long-lost friends and lovers reconnect at a New Year's Eve party. "This movie is such a love letter to California, and although mainly filmed in Southern California, I wanted it to be set somewhere rural, a small town that had a fishing-village mentality but also felt like a fairy tale, an escape — a representation of something," said the writer and director Jaclyn Bethany in an interview with the Santa Barbara Independent . "To me, Cambria stands in for a place we leave and go back to in our lives as changed people."

Bethany added that Russian playwright Anton Chekhov inspired the plot and storytelling style. "It was sort of inspired by the world of a Chekhov play, one of those endless dramatic parties, if you know what I mean," she told the Independent . "All the characters have Russian names as an ode to that world." Additionally, Highway One 's soundtrack includes a lot of European folk melodies, an element that film festival reviewers responded well to.

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Tv/streaming, collections, great movies, chaz's journal, contributors, the highwaymen.

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Roger Ebert ’s 1967 review of Arthur Penn ’s “ Bonnie and Clyde ” is a landmark in film criticism, a piece of writing that asked readers to engage with a film in terms of what it said about society not in the period in which the film was set but the era in which it was being released. I thought about that film and Roger’s review of it several times during John Lee Hancock’s “The Highwaymen,” which premiered at South by Southwest tonight before a Netflix launch on March 29. 

Clearly a counterpoint to some elements of Penn’s film, Hancock’s work seems to be castigating the very concept of even making a movie about monsters like Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. He returns multiple times to the idea that these murderers became superstars and introduced the film by telling the story of how Gladys Hamer, the widow of one of the men who shot Bonnie and Clyde, sued Warner Bros. over how her husband was portrayed in the first film. The sense that “The Highwaymen” is meant as a “corrective” to Penn’s film is patently ludicrous and requires one to willfully misread Penn’s intentions with that work. And it’s that sense of self-importance that weighs heavily enough on “The Highwaymen” that it sinks under that pressure to be the “real story” to which we should pay attention. Because taken purely as a character study and a platform for a pair of great actors, “The Highwaymen” works. But you kind of have to forget that it’s about Bonnie and Clyde to get there, which makes it a certain kind of ironic misfire.

In 1934, Frank Hamer ( Kevin Costner ) was 50, which is kind of like being 80 in 2019. He was ready to live out his golden years with his wife Gladys ( Kim Dickens ) and his pet pig when Texas governor Ma Ferguson ( Kathy Bates ) became convinced that the only way to stop the multi-state rampage of Bonnie and Clyde was to reboot the Rangers. They convinced Hamer to come out of retirement, and he went and recruited an old partner named Maney Gault, himself living on the edge of poverty with his daughter and grandson. The old-fashioned buddy dynamic is clear: Hamer is the leader and Gault is the talker. They set off to stop Bonnie and Clyde, tracking them through the Southeast as their crime spree continues.

Ignoring Penn's movie (which is doubly hard as we never really see Bonnie and Clyde for most of this film, allowing us to picture Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway in our minds), “The Highwaymen” could have been a solid procedural, a film that offers the factual counterpoint to a myth. There’s value in being reminded that the guys who catch the serial killers never get the same attention as the murderers themselves, but Hancock’s approach is quite simply the wrong one. We get barely any details as to how Hamer and Gault did their jobs. I love a good police procedural, and the details of how we got from a retired Ranger’s doorstep to that ranger being one of the men who pumped dozens of bullets into Bonnie and Clyde could have made for an interesting project, but “The Highwaymen” isn’t that project. Hancock and writer John Fusco are far more interested in long shots of big sky country and alleged commentary on how villains become celebrities than they are with detail. Hamer seems like such a “just the facts, ma’am” kind of guy that it’s doubly depressing that the movie about him can’t mirror that, too obsessed with trying to create its own icons and imagery to feel genuine.

What makes “The Highwaymen” particularly disappointing is that two solid pieces of character work get buried in the filmmaking. I’ve long found Costner to be an underrated actor, and he gets that kind of stolid, unemotional demeanor that impacts a man who has seen more than his fair share of violence. It’s almost too unflashy of a performance but when the film flits off into unearned airs of self-importance, there’s something grounded about it that brings it back to Earth. One could argue that Harrelson could do this kind of Southern charm thing in his sleep, but that doesn’t make it less entertaining. If only both men were challenged by a more complex, layered screenplay because they’re doing enough what they’re given here to prove they would have been up to the challenge.

Ultimately, “The Highwaymen” reminds one that good art can’t be made as a corrective to other art. If “The Highwaymen” had just been old-fashioned entertainment or even a character study, it could have worked, but one feels like they if they looked hard on the miles of road in this film that they would see Hancock holding up signs that say, “This is the true story of Bonnie and Clyde.” Arthur Penn made a movie about ourselves; John Lee Hancock has a movie about itself.

  This review was filed from the South by Southwest Film Festival on March 11.

Brian Tallerico

Brian Tallerico

Brian Tallerico is the Managing Editor of RogerEbert.com, and also covers television, film, Blu-ray, and video games. He is also a writer for Vulture, The Playlist, The New York Times, and GQ, and the President of the Chicago Film Critics Association.

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Need to watch ' Highway One ' on your TV, phone, or tablet? Hunting down a streaming service to buy, rent, download, or watch the Jaclyn Bethany-directed movie via subscription can be a huge pain, so we here at Moviefone want to do the work for you. We've listed a number of streaming and cable services - including rental, purchase, and subscription alternatives - along with the availability of 'Highway One' on each platform when they are available. Now, before we get into the fundamentals of how you can watch 'Highway One' right now, here are some particulars about the drama flick. Released April 1st, 2021, 'Highway One' stars Stella Baker , Aisha Fabienne Ross , Ivy George , Colette McDermott The movie has a runtime of about 1 hr 26 min, and received a user score of (out of 100) on TMDb, which put together reviews from respected users. Want to know what the movie's about? Here's the plot: "In Cambria California Anna is hosting a New Years Eve party Nina a longgone high school friend makes an appearance at the party after returning to Cambria from New York Maria one of the guests struggles with the feelings Ninas presence evokes and with facing the party goers a gaggle of eccentric millennials" 'Highway One' is currently available to rent, purchase, or stream via subscription on Apple iTunes, Google Play Movies, Vudu, Amazon Video, YouTube, Tubi TV, The Roku Channel, and Plex .

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Jared Leto, Selma Blair, and Jake Gyllenhaal in Highway (2002)

After Jack gets caught with a Vegas mobster's wife in bed, he's gotta hit the road. Jack's best friend Pilot accompanies him, and the pair sets out on an adventure akin to Kerouac's "On the ... Read all After Jack gets caught with a Vegas mobster's wife in bed, he's gotta hit the road. Jack's best friend Pilot accompanies him, and the pair sets out on an adventure akin to Kerouac's "On the Road". After Jack gets caught with a Vegas mobster's wife in bed, he's gotta hit the road. Jack's best friend Pilot accompanies him, and the pair sets out on an adventure akin to Kerouac's "On the Road".

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Pilot Kelson : Pop Quiz.

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Pilot Kelson : Come on. It's a quick one.

Jack Hayes : Go.

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Jack Hayes : A lot of dicks.

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Review: In ‘One Life,’ a Holocaust hero’s story gets the modest treatment he would have preferred

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The cinematic image of children boarding trains in World War II is, typically, a traumatic one. But in “One Life,” directed by James Hawes, it is wildly, blindly hopeful, as children board trains in Prague, bound for England, escaping dire conditions in refugee camps and the encroaching Nazi occupation, seemingly steps away.

“One Life” is the true story of Nicholas “Nicky” Winton , a British stockbroker and humanitarian who, in 1939, helped to arrange the escape of 669 children from Czechoslovakia. Written by Lucinda Coxon and Nick Drake, the film is based on a book by Winton’s daughter, Barbara Winton, “If It’s Not Impossible … the Life of Sir Nicholas Winton.” The film marks the feature directorial debut of Hawes, who also did the first season of the Apple TV+ spy series “Slow Horses.”

“One Life” weaves together two periods in Winton’s life, 50 years apart. Anthony Hopkins plays Winton in 1987, enjoying a life of peaceful retirement with his wife, Grete (Lena Olin). At the behest of Grete, while cleaning out his office, he uncovers his old scrapbook containing the records and remnants of his pre-war endeavors helping refugee children. His efforts have gone unrecognized in the years since, the children scattered to foster families across Britain, but he remains haunted by their faces, snapped in photographs that he pores over with a magnifying glass.

Johnny Flynn plays Winton five decades earlier, a stern and quiet man, the son of German Jewish immigrants who converted to Christianity and changed their last name in order to assimilate in England. Concerned with reports from occupied Sudetenland, Winton takes a leave from his banking job and meets a friend in Prague in order to assist with the refugee efforts. He immediately becomes taken with the cause of evacuating as many children as he can to England.

A man in a trench coat walks past a train.

The comparison to “Schindler’s List” is apt — Winton has colloquially been known as “the British Schindler” — and the film will feel familiar, if not formulaic, because we have seen films like this about World War II and the Holocaust. Hawes utilizes that iconography without exploiting or sensationalizing the material; the film is emotionally restrained in a way that is almost frustrating at times but ultimately reflects the character of Winton’s quiet, self-effacing personality.

As Hopkins’ Winton puzzles over what to do with his scrapbook, it’s the other people in his life, including his old friend Martin (Jonathan Pryce) and others like Elizabeth “Betty” Maxwell (Marthe Keller) — a Holocaust researcher and the wife of the infamous media magnate Robert Maxwell — who emphasize what an important humanitarian achievement he spearheaded. In fact, it’s not until Winton appears on a surprising 1988 episode of the British chat show “That’s Life!” that he’s able to comprehend the sheer human impact of his efforts and the emotion begins to seep through.

There is a subdued, unshowy but profound beauty to Hawes’ work. The pre-war timeline is the kind of sturdy World War II-era filmmaking that we have come to expect, rendered with a comforting authenticity. As audience members, we do crave a bit more naked emotion or even personal motivation from young Nicky (Flynn’s performance is as muted as he’s ever been). But Hawes and the screenwriters steer away from delving into psychological inquiries.

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They seem less interested in why Winton did it and more that he simply just did. Bound by certain inherent values of decency and kindness instilled in him by his mother (Helena Bonham Carter), he applied his skill for paperwork to the logistical nightmare that was extracting these kids from a terrible situation. He and his friends, Doreen Warriner (Romola Garai) and Trevor Chadwick (Alex Sharp), describe themselves as simply ordinary people raising an army of ordinary people to do something not only good but life-saving for innocent children caught in the maw of war.

“One Life” is a slow burn, slowly establishing Winton’s modest character as a younger and older man, but when it cracks open, it is a deeply moving portrait of true human goodness. The emotional resonance comes not from the dramatic wartime events, but rather from the long-term effects of Winton’s efforts many years later. His story proves that a few months of helping others can turn into generational legacies, that 600 souls can turn into 6,000, and that one life can have a lasting impact on the world.

Walsh is a Tribune News Service film critic.

'One Life'

Rated: PG for thematic material, smoking and some language Running time: 1 hour, 50 minutes Playing: In wide release Friday, March 15

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Movie Review: Anthony Hopkins, Johnny Flynn find poignant synergy in real-life war tale 'One Life'

This image released by Bleecker Street shows Anthony Hopkins in...

This image released by Bleecker Street shows Anthony Hopkins in a scene from "One Life." Credit: AP

By the time Nicholas Winton died in 2015 at the ripe age of 106, the former London stockbroker and self-proclaimed “ordinary man” had been widely recognized for his extraordinary deeds — rescuing 669 Jewish children from the Nazis, saving them from certain death.

But for most of his life, Winton’s rescue of those children from Czechoslovakia on the eve of World War II, bringing them to safety in Britain, was unknown to the public. His story was revealed dramatically on the BBC show “That’s Life!” in 1988, which introduced him, in an emotional surprise, to some of the very people he’d saved. Tears were shed and a fuss was made over this unfussy man. He was dubbed the “British Schindler,” and knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003.

Even if you didn’t know Anthony Hopkins was starring in “One Life,” the straightforward yet still moving new drama based on Winton’s tale, you’d be forgiven for assuming it the minute you learned Winton was a modest and quiet elderly man, keeping much to himself. Hopkins can play such a character in his sleep.

What he’s truly great at, though, is that moment when he finally lets the wall around him crumble and shows what he’s been feeling all along. Yes, this happens in “One Life,” and yes, you'll likely be wiping tears along with him. The emotional payoff takes a while to arrive, but once it does in the last act of this film, you’ll have a hard time forgetting Hopkins’ face.

Holocaust-themed movies are crucial but notoriously tricky ventures. At Sunday’s Oscars, Jonathan Glazer’s “The Zone of Interest” was honored for a hugely inventive approach, illustrating the banality of Nazi evil in its chilling portrayal of an Auschwitz commandant’s family life right outside the camp wall. “One Life,” directed with efficiency by James Hawes, takes a much more traditional approach, telling its story in flashback with dialogue that sometimes borders on the overly expository, but with a lovely cast and a story that begs to be told.

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Hopkins is the key draw, but Johnny Flynn, the talented actor-musician, has the difficult task of channeling Hopkins as a younger man (the filmmakers chose to shoot the Hopkins scenes first, so that Flynn could then build the connective tissue between the two, something he does admirably.) And it’s a lot more than 50 years that separate the two versions of Winton. It’s the war itself. The events with younger Winton took place in 1939, as the Nazis were marching across Europe but two years before they began implementing their so-called Final Solution, the mass murder of European Jews. The elder Winton knew exactly what became of all those children he couldn't bring to safety, and you can see it in his eyes here.

We first meet the elder Winton at home in Maidenhead, a town in southeast England. It’s 1987, and he’s staring at faded photos of children from the war. He spends his days involved in local charity work. He can’t seem to get rid of all the clutter in his study, despite the pleadings of his wife, Grete (Lena Olin), who tells him: “You have to let go, for your own sake.” He’s still trying to figure out what to do with a frayed leather briefcase, which contains a precious scrapbook full of war memories.

This image released by Bleecker Street shows Anthony Hopkins in...

This image released by Bleecker Street shows Anthony Hopkins in a scene from "One Life." Credit: AP/Peter Mountain

We flash back to 1939 London, when 29-year-old Nicky, as he’s known, who is of Jewish descent but has been raised as a Christian, resolves to leave the comfortable home he lives in with his mother, Babi (Helena Bonham Carter), to travel to Prague. He aims to help with the growing crisis caused by the influx of refugees from the Sudetenland region just annexed by Germany; he and others fear (correctly) that the Nazis will soon invade and send the Jewish refugees to camps.

In Prague, he finds desperate families and starving children, like a 12-year-old girl caring for an infant who has lost its parents. “We have to move the children,” he tells his colleagues. They say the task is too daunting. He persists, convincing a local rabbi to give him lists of children to begin the process (“I’m putting their lives in your hands,” the rabbi tells him.) Upon his return to London, aided by his spirited mother, he embarks on a furious race against time and government bureaucracy to obtain visas for the children and raise awareness in the media. “The process takes time,” an official says. “We don’t have time,” he replies.

Somehow, he manages to get the transports going, meeting the trains in London, where children are matched with foster families. (The most moving scenes in the film, until the emotional crescendo at the end, are departure scenes in Prague, with children saying goodbye to parents who must surely sense they’ll never see them again).

As the film toggles between 1939 and 1987-88, we learn that Winton managed to get eight trains of children out but not a ninth, with 250 children who were turned back once the Nazis invaded, a loss he keeps buried inside. That is, until he he meets a Holocaust researcher who happens to be married to news magnate Robert Maxwell.

That meeting ultimately leads to the climax in the television studio, faithfully recreated by Hawes, who actually once worked on that very BBC show. The scene is doubly poignant given the knowledge that some of the background actors in the studio that day were actual family members of those Winton saved. “There was not a dry eye on the set floor,” the director has said.

That’s not difficult to believe.

“One Life,” a Bleecker Street release, has been rated PG by the Motion Picture Association “for thematic material, smoking and some language.” Running time: 110 minutes. Three stars out of four.

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Is Jake Gyllenhaal's 'Road House' better than the 1980s original? Honestly, that's a low bar

highway one movie review

There’s this thing where anything from the 1980s or ’90s is considered better than it really was, even though anyone who was around back then knows the truth.

Still, somewhere someone is flicking a lighter and grooving to “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” a single tear running down their face. And it IS sad, though for a different reason.

Or take “Road House.” The 1989 movie starring Patrick Swayze hasn’t aged well, and by that I mean it wasn’t anything more than a stupid laugh five minutes after it came out. It was dumb then and worse now, but our inexhaustible thirst for nostalgia has somehow tricked people’s brains into pop-culture amnesia to the point they think it was some kind of low-grade classic.

Is 'Road House' a remake?

Now there is a relatively faithful remake, starring Jake Gyllenhaal in the Swayze role, directed by Doug Liman (“Edge of Tomorrow”), so a reasonable question to ask is whether it’s better than the original.

It is, much. Then again, the original is awful. (I’ll agree to dumb fun, with lines like, “Pain don’t hurt,” but only a little.)

This time around, Dalton (Gyllenhaal) is a Bouncer with a Past, but a different past — he’s a former UFC fighter. He shows up at underground fight-for-cash events around the country, where his mere presence and the sight of his abs are enough to make his opponents cower. (Post Malone is funny as one of the would-be fighters.)

At one such event, Frankie (Jessica Williams) sees him and hires him as the bouncer at Road House — two words, they explain it — in Glass Key, in the Florida Keys. It’s in a gritty little town, and at first Dalton’s method of keeping the peace seems to be sitting at the bar while a riot breaks out around him. It's a rather Zen-like approach. But when he bestirs himself sufficiently to break up fights, that’s not all he breaks.

But he’s a decent sort, so he takes the people he’s injured to the nearest hospital, where he meets Ellie (Daniela Melchior), a local doctor. If you’ve seen the original, you know where that’s leading; if you haven’t, you probably do, too.

Ben Brandt (Billy Magnussen, great at this sort of thing), the snotty son of a local crime lord, who is currently in prison, has an unusual interest in the Road House. He keeps sending bikers in to tear up the place on a regular basis and Dalton keeps sending them back bruised and broken. So Ben’s dad gets involved, calling in the big guns in the form of Knox (real-life UFC fighter Conor McGregor), one of the more gleefully unhinged villains in recent memory.

Jake Gyllenhaal seems like he's in on the joke

When Dalton says he’s in town to clean up some trouble, someone tells him: “That kind of sounds like the plot of a Western.” Later, that’s amended to sounding like the plot of a mystery Western, but it’s all leading to a showdown. And another and another and another — these are tough guys, after all.

Thanks to Limon, the action is a lot more realistic and innovative — at one point, the audience sees Knox from the perspective of being repeatedly punched in the face by him. Magnussen is fun as a character both spoiled and long-suffering; Arturo Castro is funny as a goofball biker who’s always the last to be let in on the gang’s plans.

But Gyllenhaal is the main improvement. He’s not a walking cliché; in fact, he seems like he’s in on the joke, that this is not a particularly serious movie, but he’s going to have some serious fun playing his role. That doesn’t mean he plays it for laughs. He’s just a more thoughtful Dalton, which may have something to do with being surrounded by better actors in a better movie.

And no one gets their throat torn out.

No one is going to mistake “Road House” for a masterpiece, but it succeeds far better at being what the original film set out to be.

Top picks: The 10 best movies of 2023

'Road House' 3 stars

Great ★★★★★ Good ★★★★

Fair ★★★ Bad ★★ Bomb ★

Director: Doug Limon.

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Daniela Melchior, Conor McGregor.

Rating: Rated R for violence throughout, pervasive language and some nudity.

How to watch: In theaters Friday, March 22.

Reach Goodykoontz at   [email protected] . Facebook:   facebook.com/GoodyOnFilm . X:   @goodyk . Subscribe to   the weekly movies newsletter .

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IMAGES

  1. Highway One

    highway one movie review

  2. Highway One

    highway one movie review

  3. Highway One Movie Poster

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  4. Highway One Movie Posters From Movie Poster Shop

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  5. Highway One showtimes in London

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  6. HIGHWAY ONE Movie Flyer Surfing Classic Steve Otton

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COMMENTS

  1. Highway One

    In rural California, Anna (Marié Botha, "Dickinson") is hosting a New Year's Eve party. Nina (Juliette Labelle, Nighthawks), a long-gone friend from high school unexpectedly shows up, bringing ...

  2. Highway One review

    I t would be great to say that this lo-fi movie from Mississippi film-maker Jaclyn Bethany, set in a single location at a small-town New Year's Eve party, was an indie find. Sadly it's like a ...

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    Highway One Reviews. The end asks a lot but proves worth it for how it will stay with you long after it's over. [An] unfunny and laborious piece of work with... muddy lighting, flat sound design ...

  4. Highway movie review & film summary (2014)

    Advertisement. To leave off on a higher note than the film itself does, "Highway" has a number of virtues. Anil Mehta's cinematography is absolutely gorgeous, with some sublime panoramic shots once Veera and Mahabir get to Himachal Pradesh in northern India. And, as for Veera and Mahabir, Alia Bhatt and Randeep Hooda give passionate if slightly ...

  5. Highway One Featured, Reviews Film Threat

    Highway One doesn't just get going because the reappearance of an old friend (or new acquaintance to some) pushes the townies out of their comfort zones, but also because Labelle is luminous in the role. The casual way she enters hides how big of a deal this is, and the ease with which she banters with everyone offers the small delights of being at a real party getting to know your new best ...

  6. Highway One (2021)

    Film Movie Reviews Highway One — 2021. Highway One. 2021. 1h 27m. Drama. Where to Watch. Stream. Buy. $6.99. $9.99. $6.99. ... but are brought back together at a New Year's party off the Highway ...

  7. ‎Highway One (2021) directed by Jaclyn Bethany • Reviews, film + cast

    Directed by Women. In Cambria, California, Anna is hosting a New Year's Eve party. Nina, a long-gone high school friend, makes an appearance at the party after returning to Cambria from New York. Maria, one of the guests, struggles with the feelings Nina's presence evokes and with facing the party goers: a gaggle of eccentric millennials.

  8. Highway One

    Check out the official trailer for HIGHWAY ONE!Featuring a cast of international rising talent, Highway One is a dreamy and nostalgic dive into youth, love, ...

  9. Highway One (2022) Movie Reviews

    Highway One (2022) Critic Reviews and Ratings Powered by Rotten Tomatoes Rate Movie. Close Audience Score. The percentage of users who made a verified movie ticket purchase and rated this 3.5 stars or higher. ... STREAM THE BIGGEST MOVIES AT HOME image link. STREAM THE BIGGEST MOVIES AT HOME. For a limited time, get 6 months of Peacock for just ...

  10. Everything You Need to Know About Highway One Movie (2022)

    Tue., Aug. 16, 2022. Highway One on DVD September 20, 2022 starring Ivy George, Stella Baker, Bailey Edwards, Sadie Scott. In rural California, Anna (Marié Botha) is hosting a New Year's Eve party. Nina (Juliette Labelle), a long-gone friend from high school une.

  11. Exclusive: Highway One Trailer is a Love Letter to California

    The official synopsis of Highway One from Indican Pictures reads: In rural California, Anna (Marié Botha, Dickinson) is hosting a New Year's Eve party. Nina (Juliette Labelle, Nighthawks), a long ...

  12. Highway, A Destination Film, A Journey To Free Myself

    Download the script of Highway. Highway follows a young daughter of a Delhi industrialist, kidnapped from a petrol station, who discovers what it feels to be free on the roads of India. The film co-stars a magnetic Randeep Hooda as the kidnapper and petty thief Mahabir, who kidnaps Veera with his compatriots, not realising her father has ...

  13. Highway One (2021)

    Visit the movie page for 'Highway One' on Moviefone. Discover the movie's synopsis, cast details and release date. Watch trailers, exclusive interviews, and movie review. Your guide to this ...

  14. The Highwaymen movie review & film summary (2019)

    The Highwaymen is a 2019 film that tells the story of the two former Texas Rangers who tracked down and killed the notorious outlaws Bonnie and Clyde. The film stars Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson as the lawmen, and contrasts their approach with the media frenzy that surrounded the criminals. Roger Ebert reviews the film and compares it with the classic 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde, directed ...

  15. Highway One

    Anna is hosting a New Year's Eve party. Nina, a long-gone friend unexpectedly shows up, bringing out the sexual yearnings of Maria. Maria struggles with her new found feelings and facing her ex while surrounded by eccentric millennials.

  16. Highway One (2021) Stream and Watch Online

    Released April 1st, 2021, 'Highway One' stars Stella Baker, Aisha Fabienne Ross, Ivy George, Colette McDermott The movie has a runtime of about 1 hr 26 min, and received a user score of (out of ...

  17. Highway One (film)

    Plot. Adventures of a group of surfers who travel the coast surfing and showing "Morning of the Earth". Impact. In 2018, the film was rediscovered by ABC's investigative team and revealed it features Trudie Adams when she was 18 years old, a year before she went missing in June 1978. In the film, Adams plays the girlfriend of the main character and footage shows her dancing with her on-screen ...

  18. Highway One (2021)

    Highway One (2021) on IMDb: Movies, TV, Celebs, and more... Menu. Movies. Release Calendar Top 250 Movies Most Popular Movies Browse Movies by Genre Top Box Office Showtimes & Tickets Movie News India Movie Spotlight. ... User Reviews Review this title 0 Reviews. Hide Spoilers. Sort by: ...

  19. Highway One (2021)

    Highway One (2021) cast and crew credits, including actors, actresses, directors, writers and more. Menu. Movies. Release Calendar Top 250 Movies Most Popular Movies Browse Movies by Genre Top Box Office Showtimes & Tickets Movie News India Movie Spotlight. ... External Reviews; Metacritic Reviews; Related Items. News; Showtimes; External Sites ...

  20. Highway (2002)

    Highway: Directed by James Cox. With Jared Leto, Jake Gyllenhaal, Selma Blair, John C. McGinley. After Jack gets caught with a Vegas mobster's wife in bed, he's gotta hit the road. Jack's best friend Pilot accompanies him, and the pair sets out on an adventure akin to Kerouac's "On the Road".

  21. Highway One Reviews

    Read reviews for the movie Highway One. This movie reviews and ratings at TributeMovies.com is out of 5 Stars. tribute movies.com. Theaters & Tickets; Movies . Now Playing; ... Thank you for rating this movie! Read your review below. Ratings will be added within 24 hours. Not rated. 0.00%; 0.00%; 0.00%; 0.00%; 0.00%; Rate this Movie Most Recent

  22. 'One Life' review: Holocaust hero's story is told modestly

    "One Life" weaves together two periods in Winton's life, 50 years apart. Anthony Hopkins plays Winton in 1987, enjoying a life of peaceful retirement with his wife, Grete (Lena Olin).

  23. Movie Review: Anthony Hopkins, Johnny Flynn find poignant ...

    "One Life," a Bleecker Street release, has been rated PG by the Motion Picture Association "for thematic material, smoking and some language." Running time: 110 minutes. Three stars out of ...

  24. 'Road House' review: Better than original

    No one is going to mistake "Road House" for a masterpiece, but it succeeds far better at being what the original film set out to be. Top picks: The 10 best movies of 2023 'Road House' 3 stars