Movie: Hide Away
Article by Jane Boursaw
Hide Away is a movie close to my heart. And the reason it’s close to my heart is because it was filmed right here in my neck of the woods. Living up here in the North Woods of Michigan, it’s not often that I get to say that. I wouldn’t ever want to live in Hollywood or New York, but sometimes it’s fun to get a little taste of what it’s like to have a movie filmed here.
Hide Away, originally called A Year in Mooring, is a quiet movie about a mysterious man (Josh Lucas) who arrives at a waterfront marina wearing a dark suit and carrying one solitary bag. He accepts the keys to a dilapidated old sailboat and immediately begins fixing it up — sanding the deck, fixing the plumbing, and making the place liveable. And live there he does, through a long, cold winter of ice and snow. Thankfully, there’s a heater inside the boat.
We don’t know much about this guy, other than he’s trying to work through something tragic that happened in his life. We see flashbacks of a wife and child, and clearly, they’re not on the boat with him. While mostly keeping to himself, he eventually makes friends with an older gentleman (James Cromwell) and a world-savvy waitress (Ayelet Zurer) who works at the cafe by the dock. The film is very clean and tidy, thanks to an uncluttered script and camera work. The filmmakers had some good material to work with — not only the actors (Josh Lucas reminds me of Paul Newman in this film), but the setting. It was filmed almost entirely at Bowers Harbor, which is just about five miles from my home on the Old Mission Peninsula just north of Traverse City, Michigan.
I’m continually touting the beauty of this area to friends who’ve never been here, and now people will get to see a little of that in Hide Away. The film is bathed in nature as we journey through the seasons with Lucas’ character on this little harbor that’s actually an offshoot of Lake Michigan. The film shines a spotlight on our sparkling waters, seafaring birds, stunning sunsets, and laid-back lifestyle.
One thing I found interesting is the changes they made to accommodate the film. For one thing, boats don’t stay in the water year-round here, or they’d get ripped to shreds by ice. The real-life “Boathouse Restaurant” was changed to “Boathouse Cafe,” and the little “Peninsula Market” suddenly became a mammoth store inside, big enough to rival Walmart. Lucas’ character wanders down a snow-covered path, which I’m guessing is meant to be the path to the market. However, there is no path. The store is right on our main road on the Peninsula. Pull in, park your car, and walk inside.
I’ve talked to location scouts before, so I realize that sometimes things change to fit whatever the filmmaker is trying to accomplish with the film. But I must admit it’s a little annoying when you see something on film that clearly isn’t reality. But only the locals will be attuned to that, so don’t let it deter you from seeing Hide Away if it plays in your area. It’s a beautifully thoughtful film about working through tragedy and coming out the other side a changed person with a new outlook on life.
NOTE: See Jane’s list of Patriotic Movies for July 4.
Jane Boursaw is a contributor to A Traveler’s Library, writing about her specialty, movies and TV shows. For us, she finds movies that make you want to travel. Visit her online magazine, Reel Life With Jane. To see all of the articles Jane has written for A Traveler’s Library, type her name in the search box at the top of the right hand column.