Release Date: 12/19/14
Wild is a powerful true story about a journey – a journey both physical and emotional. Reese Witherspoon was fantastic as Cheryl Strayed. The movie did a good job of giving us the general idea of Cheryl Strayed’s life, but there were parts that needed more detail. Only by watching with someone who read the book did I understand some of her flashbacks.
Have I mentioned I don’t like non-linear story telling? In case I haven’t, I don’t like non-linear story telling. My brain just doesn’t work that way. My brain is very logical and methodical, it doesn’t like to jump out of order. So, when a movie comes along that tells a story out of order, my mind struggles with the concept. Wild presents its story out of order.
Cheryl Strayed is going through an emotional crisis. Her mother died and she doesn’t know how to deal with it. She is hooked on heroine, recently divorced (because she cheated on her husband), and gets pregnant (by one of the random men she slept with).
But, we don’t know any of that yet; all we know is that she is hiking the Pacific Coast Trail. We see her life through a series of flashbacks. The result is a film out of chronological order. This was the perfect use for the technique. During her hike, she is completely isolated for days, weeks at a time. She has nothing to do but think. She thinks about everything that led her to this point – her mother, her mother’s death, her adultery, her pregnancy, her heroine use. These thoughts don’t come in any order – they just come. This non-chronological storytelling not only was done well, but done necessarily. Yet, my mind still doesn’t work like that.
Another way my mind doesn’t work – doing virtually no planning for a three-month hike up the west coast of the United States. I think I have done more planning for a trip that I will likely never take (bicycle across the United States). But, this isn’t a plot hole; this is what the real-life Cheryl Strayed actually did (or didn’t do).
Overall, despite my weird little brain, I liked the film – good acting, and an interesting story. I didn’t read the book, but I would recommend doing so before watching, as some scenes will make more sense.
WWYT Rating: 7.0
IMDB Rating: 7.2