Wild Movie Review
Sometimes, when you get addicted to heroin, sleep with way too many strange dudes and get pregnant without knowing who the father may be, it’s best to just go on a walk. But Cheryl Strayed is an over-achiever—she decided to hike 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail with absolutely no backpacking experience.
Based on Strayed’s bestselling memoir “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,” the more economically titled Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon, is one of the best movies of 2014.
Witherspoon delivers a strong performance as she nearly singlehandedly carries the movie, despite a variety of supporting characters that come and leave throughout the story. Witherspoon has been better elsewhere (Walk the Line comes to mind), but that shouldn’t diminish her accomplishments here. Laura Dern is a welcome presence in a supporting role.
The movie itself is entertaining and engaging, despite essentially being a series of vignettes depicting various hardships Strayed encounters during her journey. From losing her hiking boots to buying the wrong kind of fuel for her stove, to sleeping with a hippie in Ashford, Oregon and encountering a creepy hunter, Wild offers plenty of entertaining moments that helps develop Strayed’s character.
Wild is one of the best movies of the year, though it’s hardly revolutionary; its high ranking is in part thanks to a poor competitive field. Nothing—the acting, directing, writing—is groundbreaking. And yet Wild works extremely well nonetheless. Sometimes things just work better than their parts, as Wild certainly does.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.