HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Birth of the Dragon
Revenge of the Pink Panther
Thelma
Stratton
February
Taking of Beverly Hills, The
Marjorie Prime
Hotel Salvation
Mangler, The
Shiraz
Mercy, The
Kickboxer: Retaliation
Molly Maguires, The
Party, The
Dante's Peak
Housemaid, The
Vendetta
Brimstone
Boys in the Trees
Once Were Warriors
Red Planet Mars
Blade Runner 2049
Devil's Express
Belko Experiment, The
Flashback
War of the Arrows
One-Trick Pony
Cloverfield Paradox, The
Beach Rats
In Between
   
 
Newest Articles
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
   
 
  Wild Take A HikeBuy this film here.
Year: 2014
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadowski, Keene McRae, Michiel Huisman, W. Earl Brown, Gaby Hoffman, Kevin Rankin, Brian Van Holt, Cliff De Young, Mo McRae, Will Cuddy, Leigh Parker, Nick Eversman, Ray Buckley, Randy Schulman
Genre: Drama, Adventure, Biopic
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Somehow Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) has found herself hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail, which takes her hundreds of miles along the East of the United States with no company other than her own thoughts. Having reached the top of a high ridge, she sits down and takes off her boots and socks to examine her poor feet, and has to peel off a toenail because it is in such bad shape, causing her understandable pain. But as she does so, one of her boots topples over the cliff and into the gorge below, infuriating her so she throws the other half of the pair after it with a hearty yell. So how did she get to here? It all started when she decided she needed to get away from a tough life and actually achieve something…

Cheryl Strayed is a real person, and after penning her account of her hike she sent it to Witherspoon, who was on the lookout for stories to be adapted to films with a strong female theme, thus you can imagine her delight at finding this role for herself, given it allowed her to act out a selection of emotional scenes and a spot of physical hardship that many an actor felt they had to go through if they wanted a truly serious part to play. So it was that as producer she hired director Jean-Marc Vallée, who had just made the Oscar-winning Dallas Buyers Club, and Nick Hornby to write the screenplay, with the results that the overall effect was like guiding the audience on a trek through Cheryl’s mind, structured in that idiosyncratic fashion.

Therefore just as your mind will wander if you have a task to perform that is more physical than mental, we saw Cheryl’s memories, good and bad, surface and mill around on the screen, with us piecing together the path that took her to this feat of endurance where she, not having the experience of many of those undertaking the trail, was going to face some mighty odds stacked against her. That she overcame those odds was perhaps no surprise – she wouldn’t have written a book about how she gave up quarter of the way along – but as an extended metaphor for the journey through good and bad choices we each make in life, and in an inspirational style how they both shape us and with any luck make us into a better person, Wild was consciously in the mould of a self-help manual.

By example, as much as by instruction; maybe more for aside from the odd voiceover Cheryl was not here to lecture us, she was there to show us that the obstacles to happiness our existences tend to throw in our way need not be insurmountable. All very well if you had been through Hell and were successfully negotiating the state that brought you to, but not everyone did, so this was no help to those who hit a barrier and stalled for it offered no more advice than these experiences made you a more interesting individual, therefore if you pushed through them to the light at the end of the tunnel then more power to you. Note everyone appreciated this advice from a woman they were not necessarily going to approve of – promiscuous sex and rampant drug use were what she fell into, and audiences can be exceedingly judgemental, especially of women.

On the other hand, Strayed did turn her problems around, and this hike was a big part of that, showing that if she could survive this then she could survive the issues that brought her to her endeavour. The film did not sugarcoat in the slightest, we see Cheryl behaving very dubiously and outright recklessly in the flashbacks, yet these scenes serve to render her successes all the better. From the vistas she travels across – deserts, forests, mountains, through baking heat and freezing snow, there is an emphasis on the physical in service of the mental, as she had abused her body before (and worries men may abuse her body again) but now was using it to make a positive difference, so we see a lot of Witherspoon, not for titillation but to show the marks life has made on her, like the tattoo she had on divorcing her husband (Thomas Sadowski) or the bruises she has collected on her walk, making the gruelling drive to win out all the more palpable. True to Hornby, music was important, so snatches drift through the soundtrack as, say, she recalls her mother (Laura Dern) singing, assembling a collage of a personality in an absorbing watch, if more conventional than on first glance.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 501 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Jason Cook
  Andrew Irvine
Ian Phillips
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: