The Road to Patagonia (movie review)

The Road to Patagonia” is a travel documentary that follows Melbourne dude Matty Hannon on his journey by motorbike and horse to surf the west coast of the Americas. The film explores themes of love, life, and environmental consciousness as Hannon’s journey intersects with the life of Heather Hillier, a permaculture farmer who becomes his partner in love and travel.

At the beginning of the documentary, Hannon is at a crossroads, having lost everything and considering giving up on his journey. At this moment of vulnerability, he meets Hillier, who embodies boldness and adventure. She sells her urban farm, buys a motorcycle, and joins Hannon on his surfing odyssey. Later, they switch from motorcycles to horseback, symbolizing the film’s celebration of ‘slow time’ and a deliberate choice to engage more deeply with the world around them.

The documentary’s lack of a camera crew enhances the intimacy of the narrative, allowing the audience to feel like a companion on this epic journey. The film’s ‘cheesy’ moments—unabashed emotion or sentimentality—are not weaknesses but strengths, as they underscore the genuine human experience that Hannon and Hillier share. These moments are not just about the love between two people but also about their passion for the surroundings, which is captured through exquisite cinematography that showcases the stunning landscapes of the Americas.

Deep ecology is a thread woven throughout the film, challenging viewers to consider their relationship with the natural world. Hannon and Hillier’s approach to travel—slower, more deliberate, and with a heightened awareness of their environmental impact—serves as a subtle yet powerful call to action. The film does not preach; instead, it demonstrates the possibility of a harmonious existence with nature through example.

The film’s portrayal of the couple’s challenges presents many logistical and physical obstacles, yet these difficulties are depicted not as setbacks but as opportunities for growth. Hannon and Hillier’s resilience and adaptability are as inspiring as the landscapes they traverse.

The documentary’s structure is a series of love letters between Hannon and Hillier, from the filmmakers to the audience and the planet. This narrative choice creates a sense of personal investment for the viewer as if receiving a heartfelt message from a friend. The documentary’s pacing allows for moments of reflection, inviting the audience to ponder their lives and choices.

“The Road to Patagonia” is a testament to the power of human connection and the profound impact of truly seeing the world with open eyes. It celebrates the beauty in the slow moments, the quiet spaces, and the less travelled paths. The film encourages viewers to embrace boldness, be honest with themselves and others, and appreciate the wonderful world that awaits those willing to explore it. “The Road to Patagonia” is a thoughtful and moving meditation on love, life, and our place in the natural world, offering more than stunning visuals and an adventurous narrative. It is a must-watch for anyone seeking inspiration to live a life filled with adventure, love, and a deep appreciation for the environment.



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