A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step and so too does a journey of 1770 kilometres and one through a path of self-discovery. The latter is also known as Wild or a film that has been adapted from Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling memoir from 2012. One things for certain, this journey is definitely worth the ride.

The film is adapted by Nick Hornby (About A Boy) and directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club, The Young Victoria) who does an excellent job of getting the best performances from his actors. Academy Award recipient, Reese Witherspoon (Walk The Line) stars as Cheryl Strayed and entertains us with her most dramatic role to date. In Wild, her character is a woman who was on a downward spiral into self-destruction (think promiscuity, heroine abuse, lying and divorce) and she makes a rash decision to go hiking in order to find herself.

The hike was of the Pacific Crest Trail and the section that stretches from the United States border with Mexico to its other border with Canada. It’s a gruelling and punishing trek but it’s also one that appears to be very rewarding. In the film we see Strayed travelling through picturesque panoramas, sitting on top of mountain ledges, crossing streams and snow, experiencing the sweltering heat of the desert and negotiating through some arduous wilderness. Cinematographer, Yves Bélanger does a wonderful job here by leaving the surroundings in their raw, natural state with just the sunlight to illuminate things while handycams capture Witherspoon’s dirty, make-up-free face and monstrous pack.

The story of Wild does not just pass the different signposts of the trail. The audience also gets to learn about Strayed’s history and most importantly, her relationship with her mother (who is played by the gorgeous, Laura Dern). Strayed is grieving the loss of this great love and inspirational woman who succumbed to breast cancer at an early age. The memoires and flashbacks add additional weightiness to a film that was already quite poignant.

Wild is a poetic tour de force that is set in the great outdoors. This hiking tale is seamlessly woven with memories about love and childhood and it has the ability to transform and heal its viewers in a better way than Eat Pray Love did. This authentic and complicated reflection is sumptuous and visceral and will leave you feeling like you’ve walked with the characters every step of the way.


Originally published on 18 June 2015 at the following website: http://iris.theaureview.com/2015/06/18/dvd-review-wild-usa-2014/

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