“Wild” (2014): A Short Movie Review

Wild is a traditional road (or hiking trail) movie.  In some respects, it is similar to other excellent road movies like The Way and The Straight Story, only Wild is somewhat of a feminist tale and is rated R.

I enjoyed this movie a lot.  And, like The Straight Story, it’s based on a true story.  In Wild, Reese Witherspoon portrays a woman trying to find direction in her life.  To reorient her personal compass, she decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, all 1,200 miles from Mexico to Canada.

From my perspective, many of the comments by reviewers and others are overly judgmental of the main character’s pre-hike lifestyle, making comments like “reckless, destructive behavior,” “flawed, dynamic woman,” and “broken woman seeking to retrieve her life.”  She was clearly not broken.

I would characterize the main character’s behavior differently.  How about a woman temporary lost seeking to find a new direction in her life or a woman seeking a change?  I think too many reviews are written by men.  And we are far too judgmental.

In Wild, Reese Witherspoon proves that she is an excellent actress.  She somewhat joking on a 60-Minutes’ interview notes that at 29 she received an Oscar, but recently the New Yorker labelled her over-the-hill (she is 38), which she certainly is not.

Witherspoon on the Pacific Crest Trail

Witherspoon on the Pacific Crest Trail

Between vignettes and scenics on the hiking trail, there are short, tightly edited clips illustrating the main character’s pre-hike life.  These clips are occasionally graphic (sex and drugs) and that, plus language issues (largely the f-bomb), give the movie its R rating.

Wild is a based on the brutally-honest memoir Wild:  From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed.  The screenplay is by the English novelist Nick Hornby.

Strayed on the Pacific Crest Trail

Strayed on the Pacific Crest Trail

This is an adult movie with an excellent pedigree, and definitely worth seeing.  Recommended.

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