Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) has chosen to go on a 1000 mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail after her mother’s death. She is using the hike as both therapy for her mother’s death and her divorce as well as penance for years of self-destructive life choices.
Most of the film focuses on Cheryl’s walk alone through the wilderness. She talks aloud to herself regarding events in her life. Through flashbacks, we see the events that lead up to her choice to go on the trek.
During her hike, she encounters various people, but most importantly, comes to terms with her life and her mother’s death. Most of the men in the movie are willing to trade help for “favors.” Cheryl, realizing this type of behavior is what has caused most of her problems, looks on these men with disgust. She does encounter other people following the same path she is taking. Many offer support and assistance. At each checkpoint along the way, she enters thoughts and realizations she has made along the way.
Wild is based on the true story of Cheryl Strayed’s trek through the trail. The majority of the film is Reese Witherspoon alone. She does an acceptable job of portraying the main character of the story, I just don’t know that it is a compelling enough story to be the focus of a movie.
The movie portrays all men as perverts, only looking to take advantage of Cheryl on her hike, and her helplessness against them. While I’m sure she encountered many of these types of people, I think it focuses too much on these interactions and too little on interactions with others who were not as predatory. I am sure this is because these encounters make for a more interesting story than the banal run ins with people who were just passing through.
The makeup in the movie is probably what is most impressive. When Cheryl is dehydrated, it looks realistic. They don’t just present you with a “normal” looking face and expect you to believe that she is desperate and not as well prepared as one should be for traveling through the wilderness.
As with most movies that spend considerable time with the protagonist alone on-screen, it isn’t that exciting or thrilling to sit through. I would wait for this one to come to the RedBox.