Wild is a movie about one woman’s journey from deep and profound loss to joy and abundance of life; from life of relative comfort to willingly, if somewhat recklessly undertaken, 1,100 mile walk. Based on a book “Wild: From Lost to Found on Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed, the movie portrays Stayed’s physical journey through rattle snakes, frogs, wolves, and foxes, through merciless heat of the desert and bone-chilling cold of the Sierras. And the movie shows her mental journey, through flashbacks of her life with her mother, her husband, and her experimentation with sex and drugs. I will keep this review brief since I have already written a review of the book and here is a link to the book review http://bit.ly/16pUB9Y .
The film, directed by Jean-Marc Vallee (of Dallas Buyers Club), is adapted from a screenplay by Nick Hornby. Vallee has done a great job of translating Strayed’s narrative into scenes depicting Strayed’s journey. Reese Witherspoon has a challenging role in playing Cheryl with grit and determination, Cheryl grieving the loss of her mother, Cheryl caught up in experimentation with drugs and sex, Cheryl voicing her frustrations during her challenges in the journey and so on. Witherspoon is cast in almost every frame. Like Strayed’s backpack, monster, Witherspoon carries the challenging role beautifully.
As I previously mentioned in my review of the book, Strayed’s story also reminded me personally, of the month I spent (very very long ago — yes I am ancient – LOL), with 4 of my fellow climbers/hikers in the Himalayan mountains, each of us carrying our own monster packs with tents, mats, food, stove, crampons, rope, ice ax and blistered feet. With the other more experienced climbers, I climbed through the glacier, crossed a river, weathered a 10 feet fall on icy glacier that was stopped by my ice axe, and fully bathed only after a span of almost 27 days. My journey was not as challenging as Strayed’s, neither was I lost so desperately (although I was “searching),, nor can I say that I was “found” at the end of my expedition. But what resonates with me, about this story, is that there is something fabulous and profound about living for some time, immersed in nature, dealing with challenges presented by nature, and taking care of basic needs. It is like combined meditation for body and mind.
I rate this movie 4.6 on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being excellent.