Wild Review: A Thousand Miles to Acceptance

Photo Credit:http://insidemovies.ew.com/2014/01/10/reese-witherspoon-wild-preview/

Wild is a journey of forgiveness. Yes, there are moments of adventure and finding oneself through that. But it’s ultimately the story of a woman walking toward redemption, and she’s doing it for no one but herself.

This is an empowering movie. It’ll make you want to get up and do something. Based on the true story of Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon), this film goes outward to tell you to look inward.

Leading up to Cheryl’s journey are the death of a loved one, a nasty breakup, and drub abuse coupled with copious amounts of sex. She’s destroying herself and it’s time for a change.

But the film doesn’t just tell the linear story of her journey. Flashbacks to the events that shaped her and brought her here are laced into her present. Many films that attempt this give in to living too much in the past, but Wild strikes a welcome balance that makes all the information feel necessary without interfering on her larger character arc in the wilderness. It’s a feat of editing that the flashbacks never feel intrusive. In fact, it’s the scenes in the wild that drag on a little longer than they should.

That said, even in the slow moments, Witherspoon courageously carries this film, having not had a screen presence quite this powerful since Walk the Line. Even better though is Laura Dern as Cheryl’s mother in the flashbacks. She serves as Cheryl’s guiding light, delivering a performance built by true strength.

Unfortunately, Wild does rush its final moments, giving in to a voiceover that summarizes Cheryl’s arc. Film School 101: show don’t tell. It’s a disappointing note to end on, but with films like this, it’s important to remember the importance of the journey, even if the destination doesn’t quite pay off. For Wild, that journey is pretty powerful. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *