SXSW 2019 Review: ADOPT A HIGHWAY

By Jan Hamilton

Synopsis Source: SXSW Participants

After being released from prison following a twenty year sentence for a minor offense, an ex-con must learn to navigate the modern world while coming to terms with his own life which has moved on – all while caring for the abandoned baby he finds in a dumpster.

We meet Russell Millings (Ethan Hawke) as he leaves prison after a twenty one year sentence (under the three strikes law) for possessing an ounce of pot. He seems old at forty four. He has to do a few months parole before he can go back to his home
state, he gets a dishwasher job and a room in a run down hotel. He’s a model employee. His boss has to almost force him to leave each night, otherwise he would continue cleaning. One night as he is closing up alone, he hears a sound from the dumpster. A baby, about three months old, has been left in a gym bag.

He takes her to his nearby room, dials 911 and hangs up. Police later come. He tries to bluff his way through the visit, but the baby cries. Instead of being suspicious, they offer child care tips on soothing a colicky baby. He has a few days off work so he cares for the baby, and even takes her to see the ocean. A few days later she rolls off the bed while he is in the bathroom, and wont stop crying. He takes her to a clinic, but cant keep his story straight about when he found her. The clinic puts the baby into the system, he is afraid he will be arrested and leaves on the bus for his Wyoming home. He meets a woman on the bus who is also going home, but not to Wyoming and they part. We learn that he was very much loved by his now deceased parents, and the movie ends on a hopeful note.

This movie was high among my favorites at SXSW 2019, it was warm, human and life
affirming. It appears to be the first film that actor Logan Marshall-Green has directed, and it indicates that he could have a second successful career in addition to his very fine acting. He also wrote the screenplay. You will not be disappointed if you check this out. It is outstanding in every way.

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