1,000 miles. A pair of too small shoes. A broken heart. A confused outlook on life. A bestselling book. An Academy Award-nominated screenwriter. An Academy Award-winning actress. This is Wild.
I had the opportunity to see Wild last night on the opening night of its New York/LA premiere. I was pretty excited to see the movie – I’m currently reading the book and have heard nothing but positive things about Reese Witherspoon’s performance. This is one of the first times we’re seeing her in a role that’s completely rough-around-the-edges – far different from her Elle Woods and June Carter-Cash roles.
To be transparent: I can’t compare the film to the book… yet. I’m still on the first chapter, so it’s pretty impossible for me to give a fair book-to-movie adaptation review. However, I can judge the movie for what it is – a movie.
I really enjoyed watching this film. For those who aren’t familiar with the plot, Wild is about a woman who finds herself stuck and decides to inwardly-reflect on her choices by hiking the 1,000-mile trek across the Pacific Crest Trail. Her mother has suddenly died after receiving a cancer diagnosis. Her marriage has fallen apart after several affairs and a heroine addiction. And she finds herself pregnant and not knowing who the father is (the pregnancy would later be aborted).
Sound a bit like a novella? Well, this is actually the true account of one woman’s life in the mid-90’s – Cheryl Strayed. Witherspoon is top-notch in her portrayal of Strayed’s struggles and journey to self-redemption.
My only real problem with the movie is that I found myself asking lots of questions that the movie either breezed over or didn’t even address – mostly related to her marriage and her friendship with a character played by the wonderful Gaby Hoffman. The film greatly concentrated on the effect her mother’s death had on her life, but often skimmed over her marital problems. I know a movie can only be so long, but it almost felt like someone laid out some raw meat in front of a pack of dogs that never had a chance of actually eating it. (Ok, terrible metaphor – but you get my point).
All in all I enjoyed the film, and I’m looking forward to reading the book to get some answers to my looming questions.
Oh, and I’m fascinated by the relationship between the real-life Cheryl Strayed and Reese Witherspoon: