Dendy Brighton, 16/01 11:40am
Running time: 115m
Country: United States
Classification: MA15+ (Strong sex scenes and drug use)
Release date: 22/01/15
Cost: $9.75 (Entertainment Book discount)
Rating: 8.5/10 (ME 4/5, DP 4.5/5)
Wild is the story of Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon), a troubled young woman who sets out on the immense and seemingly impossible challenge of hiking solo for the full length of the spectacular Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in the United States, from the Mexican border up to Canada. Whilst we are treated to a feast of stunning and varied landscapes, the film is about Cheryl's attempts to either walk away from her troubled past, or walk toward a future of more promise. The inexperienced and naive Cheryl starts by carrying an enormous pack (the Monster) on her back, symbolic of the emotional baggage and huge amount of guilt, pain, self-loathing and doubt that she carries.
As Cheryl hikes, a series of well crafted flashbacks are used to reveal her backstory. The flashbacks are beautiful and poignant at times and harsh and brutal at others, many focused on the pivotal role that Cheryl's mother Bobbi (Laura Dern) has played in her life. Cheryl's journey mirrors aspects of her life and we see her transition from elation and euphoria at her many triumphs, through to feelings fear, vulnerability and defeat. Somehow she always finds a way to continue and thrive and as she travels we witness the exorcising of many of her personal demons along the way as we see her physical and emotional baggage getting lighter. Cheryl succeeds in proving to herself that she is exactly everything that she had come to believe she wasn't.
Wild was a long awaited and much anticipated film for us and it certainly lived up to all expectations. It is an incredibly well-crafted film, with Reese Witherspoon delivering a complete and believable portrayal of the complex, damaged and vulnerable Cheryl, well worthy of her Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role. The landscapes along the PCT are stunning, as we are taken through scorching desert, lush forest and snow covered mountains along the way. As Cheryl's complex history is revealed to the viewer in small snippets, it seems like the jigsaw puzzle is coming together, revealing a beautiful and detailed picture at the end. A wonderful and satisfying film that comes very highly recommended. (DP)
87th Academy Awards
2015 British Academy Film Awards
4th AACTA International Awards
21st Screen Actors Guild Awards
72nd Golden Globe Awards