Cheryl has been dealing with some serious life-altering stuff, and not very well. First, her beloved mother, her beacon of positivity, dies of Cancer a month after she was diagnosed. Not having a strong coping mechanism, Cheryl turns down a head-long path to destruction where instead of turning to her husband (a tumultuous relationship by all standards), she turns to the company of many strange men. Somewhere down that alley, she starts taking drugs. The weight of it all could not make her husband stay, and the two divorce.
Things aren’t going so good for Cheryl, and she decides she needs to work through her problems alone. She comes across a trail guide for the Pacific Crest Trail, and feels it calling to her. The Pacific Crest Trail is a rugged and solitary hiking trail that runs from Mexico, through the United States pacific coast, up to Canada. She has no hiking experience at all, but the solitude is calling to her, and she hopes the alone time and beautiful scenery will give her strength to work through her grief and guilty thoughts. She leaves everything behind to pursue this journey. Nothing could go wrong, right?
Wild is based on a memoir by Cheryl Strayed. Reese Witherspoon stars as Cheryl, and let me tell you, it’s been a long time since she played Elle in Legally Blonde. This was probably one of the best dramatic roles I have ever seen her play. Laura Dern played the mom, and I enjoyed her character immensely. Wild is a film where, yes, the clicheed “a movie about a solitary woman who is emotionally unstable [insert plot here] …and let’s hope because she is alone that she doesn’t get raped or eaten alive,” is at play. But, I was surprised with how details of this film were handled when it concerned Cheryl. As a feminist, I didn’t feel any “oh please, come on!” at any point. In fact, the story was very engaging, and I was impressed with Cheryl’s strength and resilience when the whole time she felt like quitting. I was glad she ignored her feelings and pushed forward. I found myself rooting for Cheryl in her quest.
If you are looking for a film with a bit of adventure, scenery and catharsis, settle in with Wild. It was quite good!
Starring Reese Witherspoon