Cert: 15 Runtime: 115 mins Director: Jean-Marc Vallée Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Gaby Hoffmann and Thomas Sadowski
How wild it was, to let it be
Two acting nominations for Witherspoon and Dern triggered my interest for Wild. It’s not quite my cup of tea but I endeavour to watch all sorts of cinema. So what is Wild about? Following a personal tragedy, Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) slips into a cycle of self-destructive behaviour. Her ex-husband Paul (Thomas Sadowski) and best friend Aimee (Gaby Hoffmann) are powerless to help her. But then Cheryl makes the decision to embark upon an extraordinary, life-changing journey. She takes an eventful solo hike along the epic 1,100 mile Pacific West Trail, which runs all the way up the western spine of the United States. It’s hard to feel sorry for a grown woman who took to careless and casual sexual train-pulling and drugs to deal with her mother’s death. What? I lost total interest when it was clear that she had not learned anything belief-enhancing from her trek when she instantly jumped into the sack on a one night stand with some guy she met in the course of her hike. Classy broad, not, and one obviously very damaged by her terrible life choices. And, no signs those bad choices would get any better.
And, the ending, what epiphany chances lost! The movie just ended at the end of the hike, with no clue of any insights or lessons learned or even if her grief was better.The theatre where I saw this film had the sound so low everyone was complaining that they could not hear the dialogue, and that negative surely affected this review. The cinematography and scenery were great, but that scenery was unused by Sheryl as a conscious pathway to discovery. She was more concerned with the miles she was logging than any scenery. Reese did an OK job playing this broken woman with whom I had little sympathy, as she seemed to learn little from her trek but that it was hard, demanding and finally finished, but Laura Dern was much better as her loving and slightly batty mother. Really good. Too bad she was the one who died.This is a misguided “effort” as it was obviously a movie done only for money, and not for the desire to share any personal revelations that may have been spiritually rewarding or may have led to personal growth and change in Sheryl’s damaged life perspective. We didn’t see even one indication of that by the end! Of course, that would have required some brainpower and sensitivity.