Yes I know, another film that came out “last year”, I get it, its hard seeing movies when you’re balling on a budget, okay? On this go round, I got the chance to finally see the much talked about performance by Reese Witherspoon in the appropriately titled, Wild. Witherspoon plays Cheryl Strayed, a woman on an exodus through the desert to rediscover herself as she attempts to break away from demons that follow her in her everyday life. A former drug addict, adulterer, and all around promiscuous woman, Strayed fumbles and screams her way through one thousand miles of hiking through the Pacific Coast Trail by herself in order to clear her mind, body, and spirit of the terrible actions she has once committed.
Clearly Reese Witherspoon’s hype this Oscar season has earned its hefty amount of talk and praise and she deserves it all because she shines even in the dullest of situations all throughout the film. At the end, I thought of this movie as the female version of Into the Wild. With a few elements switched around and add an insanely talented blonde actress and have it set somewhere else other than Alaska, it becomes relative. Like Chris McCandles, Witherspoon’s character meets men and women on her journey that help define her as a woman and help eliminate the cancerous behaviors that eventually tainted who she was. It’s a beautiful and often nerve-racking story about a woman who hikes a treacherous trail without a buddy in the world and what goes along the trail. In fact, there were times in this movie I thought a more suitable title would be; “Wild: Being A Woman Sucks and All Men Are Most Likely Rapists”.
There were often such fear inducing moments concerning Cheryl’s (Witherspoon) safety that I began to sweat like it was summer time. Wild is definitely a humbling movie experience when you are a man and a true testament to the strength women possess in facets of their lives while being vulnerable to the harshest environments. Whether it be loss, drugs, divorce, or depression, you understand that there is a completely different side to this gender covered coin than meets the eye.
I say this and some would immediately assume that it’s a feminist rich film or it slams the respectability of men, but that’s all completely subjective…and stupid. The reason most of the men in this film are the way they are is to prove a point, for the most part, but also because these were the real life Cheryl Strayed’s encounters while being by herself in the wilderness. It brings a true element of fear when you see some these pigs come onto her and you are immediately anticipating the worst case scenarios in your head and Witherspoon’s tender, but callous performance brings the film full circle.
You really can’t even believe how crappy this woman’s life was until you see it on film. The flashbacks of happy moments transitioning to deeper and heavier memories all but tears you apart and rips at your heartstrings from the beginning to the end. It’s a dreadfully honest story of falling to the bottom and trying to come out to the top while on a journey of self discovery…and hiking, lots of hiking.
And gross toenails!
I give Wild a solid 8.9/10, but a 9/10 for Reese’s performance alone. She has always been a talented woman and she gets another great chance to showcase it in Wild. It’s a quality film with mostly great things about it, but it is a tad slow for most people including myself, but that does not mean it isn’t worth the viewing. It gains a high rating from the shots of the beautiful scenery, the tone, the writing and directing and performances and so on and so on.