“Wild” brings inspirational memoir to life


Ever since Cheryl Strayed published “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” in 2012, Reese Witherspoon set out to star in and produce the upcoming film adaptation. From the get-go I knew “Wild” would be a decent film because of the book’s popularity and Witherspoon’s dedication to her films, but I never knew it would be such a gripping emotional rollercoaster.

“Wild” follows young Cheryl Strayed (Witherspoon) as she hikes 1,100 miles across the Pacific Crest Trail starting from the Mexican border and reaching the Canadian border. Throughout the film, it fluidly flashes between her trek and the hardships that brought her to the PCT. As she walks mile after mile, we learn about her mother’s early death and how she spiraled into sex and drugs as a way of coping. Over a course of three months, she unearths strength within herself that she didn’t have over the four years since her mother’s death.

“Wild” didn’t just show Strayed’s journey of self-discovery but it teaches the viewer lessons on grief while looking into this seemingly average woman’s life. Nick Hornby’s screenplay made every second of this movie count with its perfect flow of Strayed’s life unfolding on screen.

An important detail that I appreciated was “Wild’s” depiction of how hard it is for women to be alone in both society as well as the wilderness. There were a handful of times she was approached by men in unnerving ways that could have threatened her journey as well as her life.

Witherspoon’s acting was a big part of what made this film so intriguing. She was likeable and even charming while still being this tough, deeply pained character. While Witherspoon has showed us tenacious, profound characters in the past, it’s been a decade since she resonated with audiences as June Carter in “Walk the Line.” Her acting in “Wild” just reminded us that she isn’t going away anytime soon, whether it be on screen or at the Oscars.

I give “Wild” an A because of its wonderfully executed layout as well as Witherspoon’s superb portrayal of Strayed. My only problem was I didn’t read the book beforehand so I could learn more about Strayed and see how the film and book compared. Even so, “Wild” stands alone as a film, because of it’s moving themes of remorse as well as redemption.