As with most films that follow one character throughout you want something for them to interact with.
There have been several films in which one actor has to carry each scene. Some have been stranded at sea, others alone in a car driving to destruction, or buried alive in a shallow grave. In Wild, Reese Witherspoon picks up her backpack and goes on a journey of mental cleansing and self discovery. This is based on the true story and biography of Cheryl Strayed (an American memoirist, novelist and essayist) and tells of her 1100-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail.
Cheryl has gone through some rough patches in her life. Many due to her own bad choices but others due to circumstances out of her control. She is strung out, beat down, and headed for ruin. She decides to get away from it all and do a solo hike along the PCT from California to Canada. She is unskilled, unprepared, but determined to face the obstacles and overcome them, Each day is a struggle to carry on and she finds that in the wild are many dangerous elements;weather, animals, and even humans. Her tenacity to finish is motivational and encouraging.
Reese Witherspoon has chosen roles lately that distance her from the rom-coms like Sweet Home Alabama and Legally Blonde. It seems as if she is making a statement by taking on grittier characters that have flaws, negative outlooks, and often get their hands dirty. For the most part she succeeds in this area. She embraces the harshness of this role and exposes herself (literally) through the emotions and struggle her character faces. Cheryl goes through a range of emotions in her book and those have to be prominent here or it just becomes a nature walk instead of the tumultuous trek it really was. Witherspoon does a good job at emoting all those different feelings. Still, even when she is supposed to be a smelly, dirty, hiker who just months earlier was strung out on drugs, it feels like she is playing dress up and cant wait to get to her comfy trailer once the director yells cut.
The scenery in the film is breathtaking and beautiful to watch as you sit comfortably in your plush theater seat. It will stir something inside you to grab a backpack and hit the trails. The people she meets along the way and the commodities she stops in are the fuel for her soul that keep motivating her to keep going. the Pacific Crest Trail is real and this film solidly captures the wonder and dangers of the hike.
Wild is rated R for sexual content, nudity, drug use, and language. This is an an adult film and most the R rated content some in the form of flashbacks. Cheryl is purging herself of all the gunk that is infested her over the years. She reflect back a lot to those moments that brought her to this place. Memories that are dark, self destructive, and openly displayed. It is inspiring to watch and the R rated elements aren't there for titillation but to show the rock bottom lifestyle in order to elevate the positive.
I give Wild 3.5 out of 5 bottles of Snapple. Though Reese gives an award nominating performance the film often gets in a rut and seems repetitious. As with most films that follow one character throughout you want something for them to interact with. Granted the elements play a role but for the most part you find yourself waiting for the flashbacks scenes the human involvement .
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