If you like melodrama, then Redwoods is the film for you, which lays it on so thick you could almost choke on it, although thankfully has its heart in the right place. Everett (Brendan Bradley) and Miles (Tad Coughenour) are a gay couple who’ve lost the spark in their relationship but are held together by raising their autistic son.
When Miles and the kid head off for a week to visit his grandma, Everett is left alone to work and reflect. He soon bumps into Chase (Matthew Montgomery), who’s visiting Redwood country as he travels around writing a book. The two men’s relationship soon blossoms into an affair, with Everett suddenly regaining the passion that’s long been missing from his life. However he knows at the end of the week his boyfriend and son will return, but the temptation is to leave them. Will he stay, go and will he even have the choice?
A kind of gay Bridges Of Madison County, Redwoods might work a little better if the emotions weren’t ladled on with a spoon and if it could handle the fact Everett is cheating on his lover a bit better. Sure his life is a bit dull, but as so often in melodrama, it’s as if Everett’s completely abdicated responsibility for his life and is merely a victim of the difficulties of his existence. You can see what the film is trying to do, but the overly simplistic way it deals with its characters undermines that. Sure it’s great Everett gets a new appreciation for life, but it would be nice to feel the film wasn’t tacitly suggesting cheating on your lover is a good way to sort out your problems.
However it’s not being obtuse or deliberately manipulative in doing this. It’s more a naiveté and somewhat misplaced sweetness that seems to believe that deeply felt emotion trumps all. In real life of course, things are a bit more complex, but not in Redwoods. The conclusion is massively overwrought, but I can’t say I dislike Redwoods. It’s well made and has an oddly charming optimism, even if its morality is slightly suspect.
Overall Verdict: Redwoods isn’t the first gay film that feels like an apologia for cheating, but it’s surprisingly sweet and charming even if its morals are all over the place.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac