Wild–Movie Review

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4 Stars
Wild poster
Wild (IMDB) is a story of self-discovery and self-renewal based on an autobiographical book by Cheryl Strayed. It is an interesting movie though some people may find it a bit frustrating. It features spectacular scenery and an excellent performance by Reese Witherspoon.

The beginning of the movie is uncomfortably reminiscent of Into the Wild, whose protagonist set off on a wilderness adventure with grossly inadequate preparation and ended up dead. We see Cheryl Strayed set out to hike the Pacific Crest Trail by herself (a distance of more that 1,000 miles.) She has a backpack so heavy that she can barely stand up. She has not even taken the time to familiarize herself with her equipment. For example she brings the wrong kind of fuel for her camp stove.

Thanks to a fair amount of luck and some help from strangers she manages to stay alive, though she never finds the hike exactly comfortable. This is not surprising. It is an extremely challenging trail through desert and mountains which often proves too much even for people in much better physical condition than she is.

Through a series of flashbacks we gradually learn her backstory; how she was devastated by her mother’s death and fell into a pattern of self-destructive behavior.

We are led to believe that her experiences on the trial eventually help her to straighten out her life but it’s not clear exactly how this worked. This is probably fair. A fictional story might give us a pat explanation but this is based on a personal memoir and Strayed probably doesn’t herself fully understand how her experiences affected her.

But if you don’t mind not having every loose end wrapped up, you can at least sit back and admire the scenery.