Thanks to 20th Century Fox we had the chance to see Wild before its Australian cinematic release. This is our review of the film, but – as usual – no matter what we say, we recommend that you still go to your local cinema and see the film because there is no better critic than yourself.
Jean-Marc Vallée’s new film “Wild” stars Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed, a woman who embarks on a solo 1,100 mile hike to fight off her demons and find her real self again. Based on a true story, the film maps both the physical and internal struggles Cheryl faces on her journey through the Pacific Crest Trail, where she occasionally meets fellow hikers that teach her a thing or two, not only about hiking, but about herself.
Through flashbacks we learn Cheryl is not a particularly likeable character. After the death of her mother, her grief turns her into an unfaithful, drug-addicted wife. But her will to redeem herself makes her an endearing character, expect for the fact that she’s played by Reese Witherspoon. Personally, Witherspoon is wrong for the role. She’s too much of a Hollywood starlet and is irritating to watch regardless of what role she plays, and in ‘Wild’ she make’s Cheryl even more unpleasant then what she should be. Sure there is nothing wrong with Witherspoon‘s performance in “Wild”, she does a brilliant job! There is just an unnatural element about the character, where you just can’t see past the idea that it’s Reese Witherspoon on screen, and if you’re not a fan of Reese, then you won’t be much of a fan of the film.
Undoubtedly the film will be compared to ‘Into the Wild’ and one of the things that worked for that kind of film was that an unknown was cast for the lead. With that said, ‘Wild’ follows the journey of a female protagonist, which let’s face it, would have struggled to be distributed without a high profiled name attached to the film. It is an unnerving thought to think a female’s heroic journey would have less mass appeal then a male’s.
The stories behind ‘Wild’ and ‘Into the Wild’ will be compared, but Cheryl’s journey is no less of an amazing feat because she took the same path taken by many others. It is a purely remarkable story because a journey like this was embarked upon and because Cheryl is a real person, with real life struggles not unimaginable to us all, and she sets herself to overcome these flaws and traumas in the challenging and vast environment that is nature, and that in itself is admirable.
‘Wild’ is a film worth watching for the shear beauty of the trail; it will make you want to undertake your own adventure into the wild. Cheryl’s character makes you believe that for the average person, it is possible to do.
Wild – In Cinemas January 22