Cert: 15 / 115 mins / Dir. Jean-Marc Vallée / Trailer
You know what, I suspect that I'm not exactly the ideal target-demographic to get the most out of this film. I mean that shouldn't matter, obviously. A well-told story is still a well-told story, and Wild is a solidly assembled film indeed. It's more the story itself I couldn't get along with.
After the death of her mother leading to some cataclysmically poor life-choices, Cheryl Strayed looks to reconnect with herself on the Pacific Crest Trail, a mapped journey stretching from the Mexican border to Canadian one. Armed with only uncertainty, a backpack which weighs as much as she does, and a pair of chino-shorts which will offer her legs no protection whatsoever from the extremes of temperature or the desert and forest terrain she'll encounter along the way (she has proper trousers, she just spends most of the film wearing the shorts), Cheryl sets off to discover… well, I'm not sure, exactly.
The part I feel worst about, is that this is a true and often horrific story, yet I couldn't feel any sympathy for Cheryl before, during or after her journey. Her remarkably solitude-free hike*1 is punctuated regularly with flashbacks of the points in her life which led her to poorly-conceiving the trek, but for all the terrible decisions Cheryl made, the film seems to have her showing a worrying lack of contrition for the pain she caused others. By the time Ms Strayed stands in the rain giving life-lessons to a kid who's in need of acting-lessons, you can smell the finish line and it's all over bar a quick burst of crying and a 'oh alright then, I forgive me'.
As journeys of self-discovery go, Wild is less 'the road to Damascus' and more 'are we there yet?'.
Although to be fair, if I woke up one morning with Cheryl Strayed's pre-journey life, I'd probably walk a thousand miles to get away from me, too.
Oh, ignore me. You'll probably like it.
In all honesty, I don't think it is.
Hallmark Channel, Sunday afternoon.
Although they'll probably cut out the tits and the heroin, I imagine.
It's certainly a good performance from Reece Witherspoon, but she can do more when she's got more to work with.
Witherspoon starred in Four Christmases alongside Jon Favreau, the voice of Mandalorian warlord Pre Vizsla in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
*1 It's a pre-mapped trail, remember. Not like Robyn Davidson upping sticks and walking across Australia largely because she was bored of herself. And now look. I'm comparing the film unfavourably with another film that I didn't particularly love, either. THIS IS WHAT YOU'VE BROUGHT ME TO.
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
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