Wild: Film Review



I expected this to be pretentious, boring and use the same tired ‘finding yourself’ formula seen in Eat, Pray, Love but I was surprised by how compelling it is. Reese Witherspoon sheds her usual good girl image to portray a woman struggling to forgive herself for past indiscretions and was way more believable that I thought she could be.

Witherspoon is Cheryl Strayed, a woman who chooses to hike 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in America to recover from the loss of her mother, who suddenly died from cancer. The shock sent Cheryl into a downwards spiral, ruining her marriage as she destroys herself with heroin and promiscuous sex. She hopes the hike will help her get over her troubles so she can start afresh.


You would think watching a film about a woman hiking would get quite tedious but Cheryl faces a lot of trials and tribulations throughout the trip, which is interspersed with narrations from her diary and flashbacks of her troubled past. Her problem range from wanting to quit, buying the wrong fuel, the wrong size shoes, snow forcing her to change route to really creepy men who seem to be contemplating something sexual. I sympathised with her throughout and was willing her to continue the trek. I also had serious respect for Cheryl doing that on her own, realising that I could never do such a thing.

Her back story is revealed in short snaps in the beginning and you slowly piece together her past in longer flashbacks later. We eventually see Witherspoon high on heroin, arguing with her husband, shagging random dudes in alleyways and mourning her mother. In the present, she is vulnerable but determined to change her life around. Witherspoon showed great range taking on the role, showing she is capable of more than we know her for, but I’m not convinced it is worthy of an Oscar nomination.


This piece is so strong because it doesn’t get sentimental and we don’t get too much of Cheryl talking about forgiveness, her soul etc etc. The trail changes greatly throughout – from mountains, to snowy landscapes, deserts to fields – and was simply stunning. It is well paced – it never drags and the flashbacks are edited in a way to make her story more intriguing – you want to know what happens to her. It was never boring and I was captivated throughout. That’s impressive for a film about a woman hiking.

In cinemas now

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