Wild—directed by Jean- Marc Vallée/starring Reese Witherspoon with Laura Dern, Gaby Hoffmann, Michiel Huisman/written by Nick Hornby, Cheryl Strayed based on a memoir by Cheryl Strayed/run time/115 min/rated R
Bifocal Reviews by Barbara Rich and The Other Guy
(BR) Let me say this: I would have to have a gun to my head before I would ever entertain the thought of trekking up any wilderness trail, sleeping on the ground, grubbing for food, or going without a shower or a toilet for more than a day. That’s why this movie impressed me. To voluntarily decide to take this challenge is an alien concept for me. I’d rather jump out of a plane, and I’m not doing that either. Anyone who’s read my reviews knows I’m drawn to true-life stories. Hence, Wild was a must see for me. This certainly was one of Reese Witherspoon’s finest performances. I reserve my opinion about an Oscar nod, because I have yet to view the other potential nominees. Cheryl Strayed’s motivation for taking the 1000 mile journey was a personal one, because of her beloved mother’s tragic death, giving this film an extra emotional content that drew me in. Most of the dialogue though is in the head of the Strayed character, as she walks alone on this trail, including the memories of her childhood or conversations with her mother played by Laura Dern. I therefore calmly give Wild three binoculars.
(OG) It was either a wise old woman, or a motorcycle company that once said, “It’s not the destination, but the journey.” This movie puts a blunt point on that statement, and get’s rid of the motorcycle. If you don’t know it by now, Cheryl Strayed walked the Pacific Crest Trail—it’s a fantastic wilderness trail that stretches from Mexico to Canada) and she lived to tell about it. In fact, she wrote a book about it and now it’s a movie which relives the trek for us and gets us into the mind of the woman who felt the need to do something to remember her mother by. I am glad she walked and that it influenced her life for the better. I’m really happy for her. Walking is great, and experiencing nature is also great. Great things happen to people when they test themselves and spend time alone or with Nature. There’s no question about it, but hundreds of thousands of people walk this trail every year. Each one of them has a story, just as interesting as the one in this movie. I’ve personally met hundreds of them. Wild seemed realistic and I loved the scenery and the acting by Witherspoon. However, maybe because of the familiarity of the script, I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as Barbara. I give this one 3 binoculars, mostly for the acting.