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Film Review – Wild

2 min read

Would you attempt to hike thousands of kilometres through the demanding, crippling conditions of the Pacific Crest Trail?

With critically acclaimed films such as Election and Walk the Line on her slate, actress and burgeoning producer Reese Witherspoon can claim another successful win with Dallas Buyers Club director Jean-Marc Vallée. Since the success of Walk the Line, Witherspoon’s career has consisted of love triangle based films and modest box office efforts, however, with the wave of awards and recognition for her portrayal in Wild, we’re certain to see her renewed evolution in the coming months. 

Based on Strayed’s 2012 memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,  Witherspoon stars as Cheryl Strayed, a woman who endeavours to hike the Pacific Crest Trail alone – a total of 4,286 km. Witherspoon’s Cheryl overcomes her hardships emotionally and physically against the blistering Californian heat and piercing winter of Washington, trekking through the desert and mountains for self-discovery, healing and the hard task of coping with the loss of her mother, Bobbi (Laura Dern).

Wild Inserted Image

Written by novelist/screenwriter Nick Hornby, Wild impressively delivers a compact, genuine script filled with witty internal narration from Witherspoon that assists in the gritty, authentic nature of the film. Through Cheryl’s vulnerable account of her journey, Hornby and Vallée intrinsically combine both verbal and visual direction to create a cohesive, authentic wilderness adventure film.

With Witherspoon present in almost every scene, the Academy Award winner shows her prowess; Witherspoon conveys that she is once again worthy to be in the running for Best Actress. Her spirited, unaffected, vulnerable performance as Cheryl is certainly the unmissable element of the film. Through her performance, audience are able to feel the palpable nature of the grim and strenuous circumstances that comes with hiking the PCT. Unmissable of course is fellow Oscar nominee Laura Dern as Cheryl’s liberating and affectionate mother; tasked with being the catalyst for all her daughter’s choices, Dern exemplifies her fierce yet warm portrayal of a single mother.

Fresh from the acclaimed film Dallas Buyers Club, Vallée superbly demonstrates the harsh conditions of the survival in the wilderness through his cinematic direction. Poised with an excellent script and star power, Vallée executes powerfully inspiring film about the loss and self-discovery against the backdrop of the punishing trail.

From a pink puffed lawyer in Legally Blonde to one of her most authentic and vulnerable roles yet, Witherspoon’s renewed cinematic evolution is certain to flourish.

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