Saturday, February 7, 2015

WILD

Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern

"Wild" is based on an inspirational bestseller. The story of Cheryl Strayed who decided  to hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail, alone. It was triggered by the death of her beloved mother and to exorcise her personal demons such as addiction, divorce and her desperate descent into debauchery.

The plot veers all over the place with continuous flashbacks that presented her 'former' life where we see her interact with her family, friends and strangers. Along with her hiking adventure where nothing really happens, pretty much long stretches of rough, rustic landscape. Honestly, I was expecting her to be eaten alive by some wildlife or worst be killed by other hikers, yes it was my morbid mind taking over the plot. I guess she was lucky, the PCT is fairly safe for first time hikers.

So naturally, the entire film is focused on a single character portrayed by Reese Witherspoon in an entirely non glamorous role. I am amazed her petite frame was able to carry that huge backpack through such rugged terrain. Her youthful appearance might have been a disadvantage as I saw the real Cheryl looked much older. 

But Reese's nuanced performance is note worthy given that most of the time she is out there on her own without any human interaction. Laura Dern gives terrific support work as the single mother who faces many odds but continues to be a source of strength and inspiration to her children. 

I can't help but compare it with another film about self-discovery, "Into the Wild" which was modest in its interpretation yet had more depth in depicting the tragic story of another hiker. 

"Wild" doesn't have the same spiritual appeal but it is still a good case study and a powerful account about determination and self improvement. But by the end of the film, Cheryl doesn't solve all her problems, it leaves room for a sense of uncertainty which is just fair as life itself is full of unpredictable moments.

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