Adopt a Highway (2019) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
48 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Sweet, slow emotional movie
pancolart2 November 2019
Basically about father and son but this isn't apparent from start. Made me cry a bit. It is slowly revolving, building the character of a lost soul, good hearted ex convict Russ. He is trying to find something to hold, to anchor his life to. It is also movie about injustice of the system and life. Probably not for everyone to watch but if you know feeling of being lost and lonesome, feeling of being disconnected from parents, work and hyper motivated world then...
54 out of 60 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Completely Underrated
kancer-6039111 January 2020
This film is a compelling story of a man who has had a hard and unfair life. The world has given him one hard turn after another. I felt for the main character and part was performed brilliantly. This film is set a slower pace and that perfectly suits the story. You really root for the main character. I won't spoil it by saying anymore.
13 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Hawke is Superb in This Wonderful Indie
larrys35 January 2020
If one can overlook some of the far-fetched plot elements here and just go with the flow this can be a wonderful movie,

Ethan Hawke gives another superb performance as Russell Mullings, traumatized by a 21 year prison stretch (under the old California 3 strikes law) for minor drug offenses. Just released, and working as a dishwasher at a burger joint, he finds a baby girl left in a dumpster.

This will all lead to a chain of events that can be quite heartbreaking at times. But I thought a most poignant and appropriate ending here made it all worth while
11 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A melancholic and endearing film.
peterp-450-2987163 November 2019
When you commit a third violent crime, you will be put away and put away for good. Three strikes and you are out.

Every now and then you come across such an unknown, idiosyncratic film, which was probably made with a modest budget and for which no huge marketing budgets have been made available. A film you don't really expect too much from. That's "Adopt a Highway". It's not a cheerful or action-rich film. I really expected a depressing drama. And even though there's a moving moral in it, you can say there's also another hidden message in this film. A message of hope, compassion, and modesty.

The introduction shows how Russell Millings (Ethan Hawke) leaves prison after being imprisoned for 21 years. Reluctantly. Somewhat anxious and timid. A man who's alienated from society and who struggles to keep up with the contemporary pace. Someone who has never used a mobile phone, the internet or e-mail. And all thanks to a short-sighted policy in which someone is sentenced to a heavy sentence when he gets involved in something for the third time. No matter how small the criminal offense is. The so-called "three strikes" legislation. In Russell's case, it is about owning a few grams of marijuana in the state of California. Something that has become virtually legal after those 21 years. An unreasonable punishment that ensured that he wasn't given the opportunity to develop into a decent citizen.

Ethan Hawke probably demonstrates his best acting performance here. The way he plays Russell is simply breathtaking. He's in the spotlight almost constantly. And his clumsy way of conversing and interacting with others is simply sad and pitiful. It's not clear whether Russell used to be mentally deficient from a young age already or if he got numb from the years of imprisonment. In any case, he's treated by the official authorities as insignificant and is left to himself a bit. He tries to live an honest life and tries to avoid following the wrong path again. A simple life where he earns a living as a dishwasher in a fast-food chain and sleeps in a motel. Until he discovers the adorable Ella (Savannah Sucher) in a garbage container.

Even though from the outset he realizes that it's almost impossible for him to take care of a baby, he still hesitates to hand over the lovely baby to the authorities. What follows are touching moments that he experiences with the few-month-old Ella. His ignorance about taking care of a baby and the sense of responsibility that he suddenly experiences, take away the attention of the depressing life that he led until then. Even though Ella's discovery brings a turning point in Russell's life, this wasn't the central theme for me. This helpless and innocent little girl shows gratitude in a spontaneous way. No disinterest, impatience or incomprehension as adults treat him. The most emotional scene is the one on the beach where Russell tells a part of his life story.

"Adopt a Highway" is a melancholic and endearing film that will touch a sensitive nerve with many viewers. Well, in my case it did. Some will call it a corny ending. I thought it was a logical conclusion. An example of humanity. It's also a film about getting a second chance in life. I was surprised by the Blumhouse logo and I already assumed that this would be a very sinister movie. That's certainly not the case. The explanation for the Blumhouse connection lies with the director Logan Marshall-Green who appeared last year in the Blumhouse production "Upgrade". "Adopt a Highway" is, therefore, his debut as a director. And as far as I'm concerned he can certainly direct such a gem again. I'm ready for it.
39 out of 45 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A heartwarming reminder about life.
novacasa426 November 2019
Adopt A Highway is a feel-good story that brings out a lot of emotions at once, what we have here is a sweet story that's told on two facets, one is a story of a lost soul doing its best to survive and the other side of it is this heartwarming longing to a nice life once lived and never quite got enough of it. I was caught off guard several times by the performances as they were genuine and heartfelt and that added so much to the story, Ethan Hawke's rendition here was spot on, he delivers on so many levels, he gave his character life, and he infused it with minor details that make it just work. This film goes to remind us that it's never too late to start a new life, no matter how much you suffered or went through, there's always a way to start over and live again, Solid film.
26 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
kirbylee70-599-52617927 January 2020
Warning: Spoilers
On occasion a small movie is released that garners no major attention, released to the fewest of theaters and drawing little acclaim. These movies are quickly, if not immediately, released to disc and even there find few people realizing what a gem they're missing. Such is the case with ADOPT A HIGHWAY. This film made by actor and first time director Logan Marshall-Green is one you should seek out.

Ethan Hawke stars as Russell Millings, a man heading out into the real world having just been paroled after 21 years in prison. Russell was part of the program instituted under President Clinton, a three strikes convict. His crime? Possession of an ounce of marijuana. Quiet and keeping to himself, Russell leaves prison behind ready to face the world.

But the world has changed drastically since his incarceration. Meeting with his parole officer he's told he doesn't have to report every week, just send in his information via email. When he tells the officer he doesn't have an email and doesn't understand it, he's told to figure it out so he doesn't get in trouble.

Placed in a work program Russell cleans and does dishes at a local fast food joint. He's well-liked by his boss who wishes she had more like him. His time off is spent rediscovering the world, shown in the film as he attends a local amusement park. One night when she wants to leave right after closing and he has cleaning left to do, she gives him her spare key and tells him to lock up when he finishes and to return the key to her when he comes back after the weekend.

He cleans, does what's expected and his last chore is taking out the trash. What he discovers changes his life forever. Inside the dumpster Russell finds and an abandoned baby. With no clue who to call or what to do he tries contacting 911 but hangs up, fearful of authority after his time in prison. He takes the baby home, calls her Ella based on a note she has on her and does what he can.

As the weekend draws to a close he knows he can't take care of the child like this and work at his job. When she falls from the bed, he decides to take her in to child services. They thank him for doing so and begin asking him questions about where he found the baby and how he knew her name. He gives them the information he can and leaves, hoping to keep in touch and find out more about Ella.

That changes when the police show up to his job. As they question him about exactly where he found the child they don't believe all of his answers. This places his employer in a predicament and he's let go. Afraid that after losing his job and being questioned, Russell gathers his things and hits the road, heading for Wyoming.

The description of this film would make you believe the entire thing revolves around the baby and how Russell relates to the child. While that is an important part of what transpires it is the journey that her discovery causes that is the heart of this film. It's a journey that should be experienced rather than described and a satisfying journey it is.

What makes the film work is the combination of story and acting. If either was weak the entire film would fall apart. But the story is compelling as we feel for the poor soul that is Russell, a man out of time who was imprisoned for what is now a misdemeanor and legal in some locations. His difficulties in functioning in a world that seems completely foreign to him makes for great storytelling and pulls you in to the humanity of his situation.

But more than that is the performance by Hawke in the lead role. There is so much subtlety in his performance that it is amazing. While so many names were tossed around for Oscar contention this year this was a performance that should have been noticed. The quiet speaking voice, the subservient behavior and the fear of what surrounds him is portrayed though Hawke in a way that creates a character you have no choice but to feel for, to wish a better outcome to his life.

As I said, this film played virtually nowhere and is not out on disc. Seek it out. Stick with it and watch the journey of Russell Millings. See the fantastic performance of Ethan Hawke that deserves more credit than a simple release on disc. It was a movie that was more enjoyable than expected and one that deserves to be seen.
8 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Loved it :)
julienm-787054 November 2019
Great acting of Ethan Hawke ! Like always haha, Movie is very touching & I understand it's stressfull that this character his "slow" but I think we can see here how 20 years in prison (and for a minor crime) can break someone.
28 out of 34 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I feel for him
Gordon-117 November 2019
This film tells the story of a man who was imprisoned for 21 years. Soon after his release from jail, he finds a baby in a dumpster.

It is a film that offers humanity and hope. The scene in the bank is very touching. The story is somewhat sad because the protagonist deserves better, and I really feel for him. It is a slow film, but it is a film to feel.
15 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
It's hope
ringoringo9282 November 2019
Simple movie,no twist Anyone can have a second chance Good acting Touching my heart
26 out of 34 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Absolutely loved it!
maggieannedavis8 January 2020
Best movie I have seen in a long time! 🙏🏼 Great characters, acting, and storytelling. Absolutely Beautiful.
8 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
It's just nice.
Smallclone1004 November 2019
Nice. It's just a nice film. Not bad, not great. Just nice. Directed by Logan Marshall Green, it's only around 80 minutes long. An ex con finds an abandoned baby in a dumpster and tries to figure out his next move.

Ethan Hawke isn't at his best but he does a good job. Elaine Hendrix is the standout even though she has about 8 minutes screen time.

It suffers from a few mis-steps early on because of character choices, and there is one terribly hokey voice over moment towards the end but it did the job for a Saturday night movie.
19 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
This is Life
luisaflores-2815214 January 2020
Warning: Spoilers
The movie has a great start, by showing this man coming back to normal life until he founds a baby in a dumpster. I believe most people would think that the baby would now guide is decisions. But it turns out that he gives the baby away, because even though he felt happiness with that baby he knew that he should give her a better life.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Patience is a virtue
r_p_d20 December 2019
There is nothing flash or fast paced about this movie, just good story telling in the form of acting. I really enjoy a movie that doesn't bombard you with over the top acting or cgi and this one delivers on that score, it's a refreshing break from the mind numbing run of the mill so many put out as entertainment in this day and age.
8 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
westsideschl7 January 2020
20+ years for three strikes on minor crimes (relatively speaking) he's let out to an unfamiliar world. Wary & suspicious & isolated & mentally damaged he finds a baby in a dumpster. Torn between human kindness, yet guarded w/fearful uncertain cautions he protects the baby as only he can understand. Somewhat of an ambiguous feel good ending. But, this ending credits statement was good, "For everyone who's made a mistake."
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Beautiful and more than acceptable!
dtrani4 January 2020
This film chooses to stay on the more mellow-toned side of things, which I very much enjoy. The overall film is short, making it feel almost like a short film but still sticks out as a compelling one. It feels more like a short story; something you would hear about in a small book or so. The film was very solid and had a sense of peace to it that was very appealing. It can confuse many people easily and feel bland, but honestly I embrace this film and give it thumbs up! Great Job to Logan Marshall Greene! I was satisfied!
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Light at the end of the tunnel.
skt946-149-66792126 December 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Really liked the movie however the only drawback with me was he came across like a slug, a caveman seeing the modern world for the first time. But, I guess in some ways he was. Loved the happy ending, kind of a pleasant surprise. A very good day and good luck to you dude is what I would have said to him in the end.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
It's a movie of dramatic contrast which makes you smile at the end!
georgi-gfl3 December 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The movie makes dramatic and very realistic attempt to dip our emotions into the life fears of a former convict, The movie doesn't offer nothing extraordinary in its story. However the masterful use of contast at the end, unexpected in any way by the spectator, will make you remember it for a long long time.
7 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Very Good, but Depressing Movie
itsbobr3 January 2020
Russell Millings (Ethan Hawke) as a kid went to prison for 21 years for selling one ounce of Marijuana. He is released and takes a job washing dishes at a burger place. One night he finds a baby in a dumpster and takes it home with him. The note with the baby says the baby's name is Ella. He doesn't call the authorities and fears that keeping the baby would be kidnapping. But he keeps the baby. Here is what we have to remember, Russell is a boy in a man's body and acts like a boy as prison hadn't changed him to face the world.

This is probably the most depressing movie I have ever watched. He learns from new inroads to the internet that his father had died while he was in prison. I was hoping this was a true story with a happy ending.

The Authorities do claim baby Ella and Russell is also fired from his job at the burger store. He takes a bus to his home in Casper, Wyoming.

The scenes with Russell and Ella are touching, but we see that he has her, at times, laying on the edge of a counter and on the side of a bed where she could fall off. And that does happen and that is how the authorities find out about Ella when Russell took her to a clinic for the bump on her head.

The title has something to do with awards that Russell won in school.

Notable: Elaine Hendrix as Diane Spring, Russell's bus mate and she is on her way to Denver. These scenes with Diane are kind of goofy and could have been done better.

However, all in all, the acting all around is excellent. We did wish Russell spoke more quickly when interviewed, but keep in mind he is a kid in a man's body and is terrified of authorities.

In Casper, Wyoming he visits his father's grave and visits the bank to see what the keys to the safe deposit box hold for him. His father had given him the keys, but never visited him In prison. There is just a letter from his father in the box.

When all is said an done you will wish this was a true story as did I. And It is here that you will really need that Kleenex box as did I. (9/10)

Violence: No. Sex: No. Nudity: No. Humor: No. Language: No. Rating: A (3 Jan 2020)
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Wanting More
wolfmtns26 December 2019
It was a good movie but I would have loved to have had more of the story, about him about Ellie what was in their future?
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Life is the sum of big little things
tllgm201019 November 2019
Wonderful job by Ethan Hawke. Excellent film and a beautiful yet strange way of looking at life. Loved it but the end left me with a thorn that bothers me, I cannot find the spot where it is. I think, in the end I'll learn to live with it, like all the others I have (I'm not sick or something, don't get me wrong).
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Started out good...and then it went to s**t
Brajja23 November 2019
Great acting by Ethan and nicely directed. But the script was written by someone who has been lobotomized. So just because he's downtrodden and mortified by the presence of authorities he becomes a walking imbecile? But not always though, only when something happens. This could have been a really good movie. But it's not.
11 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
suitcasecheryl3 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
While the movie wasn't so bad that you didn't want to watch it but the premise of the movie is absurd! This is why. A man that spent decades in prison gets out and is thrown into the world, very cliche. The fact that it portrays the man, Ethen hawks, as a person that never went to a carnival and never went on a Ferris wheel, never played hit the bottle game, and didn't know ONE thing about computers either. Does that make sense to you? What?, he wasn't a child before a man? His parents never took him to a carnival? I could go on and on but I hope you get the jist. Again, it's not so awful that can't watch it, that's why I gave five.
19 out of 57 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Slow-burn drama about a socially awkward ex-con who discovers the value of giving and receiving after he discovers a (live) baby left in a dumpster
akcenat14 December 2019
Small and deliberate production do not brings "Adopt A Highway"- with a curious story and a couple of strong performances (Ethan Hawke and especially Elaine Hendrix) - where it was intending. Movie seems as confused and disorientation as its lead character, wandering around and never quite figuring out what story it wants to tell. The film shifts in the second half of the movie when debut feature film director (Logan Marshall-Green) picks up the pace after Hawke discovering the baby, but it is quite absurd that lead character (Hawke) learns of his father's death while reading an obituary online, even though director has already established that he was never estranged from his family. As abruptly pushing its hero into a new situation, Marshall-Green's screenplay becomes less focused than before and that is the point where my level of interest begins to decrease. In conclusin, the heart of the story is strong, however, there are a few too many details that are a little too far-fetched that take away from its strength. It's hard to believe that Russell, even in prison for that long, would have literally no idea how to use the internet; that, given what we're told and the conclusion, he wouldn't know what happened to his parents; and that he would not know immediately that keeping an abandoned baby was a bad idea.

Rating: 6+
5 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A gorgeous film
eyeintrees5 April 2020
In this day and age where movies are apparently supposed to thrill you to bits every single second so that you don't need to think or feel or do anything much other than be 'entertainnnneeeed', this would be consider a 'slow' movie. Only because we have stopped watching human drama or anything remotely that require empathy. It's a gorgeous film. Superb acting by Ethan Hawke. From the first second you see him, he reels you in for some fine genuine empathy to a character that has learned to 'keep his head down' to make each day pass. You need to watch and listen and see where it goes and the ending will not disappoint.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great acting!
lorenta792 March 2020
Good movie, enjoyed watching it. May be a bit slow for some but good meaning overall.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed