Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Writers: Nick Hornby, Cheryl Strayed
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, Keene McRae, Michiel Huisman, W. Earl Brown, Gaby Hoffmann, Kevin Rankin, Brian Van Holt, Cliff De Young, Mo McRae, Will Cuddy, Leigh Parker, Nick Eversman, Ray Buckley
Synopsis: A chronicle of one woman's 1,100-mile solo hike undertaken as a way to recover from a recent catastrophe.
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, nudity, drug use, and language
8.7 / 10
- Laura Dern gave a great performance
- Reese Witherspoon was excellent, as she carried her role nicely
- The flashback sequences were put together nicely, as each one was placed exactly where it needed to be to set the right mood for the story, while slowly allowing the audience to gradually to get know our main character. Never revealing too much too soon, as it gradually eases us into the story.
- Good script
- Great cinematography and direction
- A few minor pacing issues, as the film does drag it's feet at times; making it feel longer than it actually is.
We are never prepared for what we expect- James A. Michener
"Wild" is arguably one of the deepest character studies that I've ever seen. The film based on a true story about a young girl hiking over a thousands miles cross country, while coping with various issues about her past. Along the way, she has various flashbacks about her life, as she dealt with issues like infidelity and drug addiction, while coping with the loss of her mother and failed marriage. Needless to say,she's made a lot of mistakes in her life, and deeply regrets them. However, she also comes to the realization that maybe things happen for a reason. And how sometimes adversity throughout our lives can help define who we are in life.
"Wild" may not be one of the best film of last year, but it's worth seeing purely for the emotional journey it takes you on. Although we're never given the full details about when Cheryl's marriage fell apart, we're given enough to know that she wasn't always the devoted wife she should've been. Like all of us, she's made quite a few mistakes in her life. Things she deeply regrets, as she uses the record breaking hike as something of a cleansing of her own soul. During this time, we're given various flashbacks that illustrate her relationship with her own mother and husband.
While her mom was portrayed mostly as a kind elderly woman, we soon find out that Cheryl and her mom didn't always have a perfect relationship. Cheryl would say things that she would later regret, and inevitably hears her own mother cry about her life was never truly her own. Throughout the film, we're given strong implications that Cheryl did have something of a deep admiration for her mother, but she was never able to convey that to her. And given the circumstances that led her to current predicament, she never will get that chance.
Sadly, we never get to say what we want to the people that we love the most, as "Wild" depicts how every moment in life is special. How sometimes we spend most of our lives making petty mistakes that could've easily been avoided. But at the same time, it's the mistakes and choices we make in life that define who we really are. As a wise man once said, the choices we make dictate the lives that we lead. "Wild" plays upon these themes perfectly.
Reese Witherspoon does a great job portraying Cheryl, as she's something of a lost soul struggling to find her place in life. And regardless of her mistakes, we never end up hating her for them. If anything, you can't help but feel sorry for her throughout her journey.
In some ways, it reminds of the emotional journey that Henry Cavill's Superman had to endure in "Man of Steel." Both protagonists wandering through their own emotional journey of self discovery, as it takes them far away from home. Meanwhile, they're both haunted by flashbacks of their past, at various stages of their lives. It's quite interesting to see play out, and Reese carries her role perfectly.
The cinematography helps create the mood for the film brilliantly, as Jean-Marc Vallée manages to immerse the audience in an emotionally driven story that'll leave you yearning for more.
Laura Dern delivers a solid performance as well, as she acts as Cheryl's conscious throughout the story. Sure, "Wild" does have a tendency to drag at times, which makes it feel longer than it actually is.
However, it's worth checking out if you're into emotional driven stories about self discovery and inner turmoil; with themes of "man vs. himself" mixed in with "man vs. nature" elements. While I hesitate to say if this is Reese's best performance, I will say that she does a tremendous job in this film, as she definitely proves why she was worthy of her Oscar nomination earlier this year.
© 2015 Steven Escareno