Movies about self-discovery have to walk a fine line. Often they keep the audience in the dark about film’s message. But sometimes, a movie comes along that doesn’t follow that track. You are drawn into the story and you experience that journey yourself. Wild does exactly that. Directed by Jean-Marc Vallee, Wild tells the story of Cheryl Strayed as she takes on one of the most grueling hikes of her life.
The movie is about discovery. Discovery of inner strength, hope, peace and clarity. Reese Witherspoon plays Cheryl Strayed, a woman who loses her mother, Bobbi (Laura Dern). While suffering from immeasurable grief, Cheryl decides to walk the Pacific Crest Trail on her own. Along the way, Cheryl faces terror, haunting memories and learns to be the woman that her mother always believed that she could be. Walking the Pacific Crest Trail is no easy feat even for seasoned hikers. On the hike, she meets people who have encountered loss, people who are searching for meaning, people who are just walking for peace. Crossing desert, forests, snow-capped mountains and dangerous passes, Cheryl Strayed opens her heart. In doing so, her heart heals. This is that story.
Sure, you might be wondering about how a film that focuses on just one actor can be so powerful. It’s simple, the story doesn’t preach, doesn’t portray Cheryl as a superwoman, doesn’t try to be bigger than what it is. A tale of a journey. Couple that with Jean-Marc’s brilliant direction, amazing cinematography, a wonderful screenplay and touching acting, and you will be transported. Reese Witherspoon is amazing as Cheryl. There is a visible change within her that takes place. Her performance isn’t strained but beautiful in its simplicity. Laura Dern’s Bobbi is a collection of memories. She makes you believe in Cheryl. That’s the best part of Laura’s portrayal. As the movie progresses, the memories that are awakened, do not batter the viewer, but rather provide snapshots into the past. The rest of the supporting cast are good at their parts. But the primary connection between Cheryl and Bobbi is what drives the movie. Set along the picturesque Pacific Crest Trail, you are treated to amazing shots of the beauty of Nature. It gets your heart pumping. The soundtrack keeps you locked in the moment. At the end of the film, you will feel the freedom and peace that Cheryl talks about.
Why should you watch this film?
A compelling human story about grief, pain, hope and happiness. This movie brings all of this together. Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern are amazing in their respective roles. Jean-Marc Vallee has delivered a movie that fills you with a warm glow. This is a story that should be emulated by all.