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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wild



Reese Witherspoon, who will always be a southern belle to me tries to reinvent herself as an ex addict on the path of self-discovery. I have a little problem associating Witherspoon with a junkie, even more so when she portrays the reckless kind. In order to cope with her mother’s untimely death to cancer, Cheryl Strayed portrayed by Witherspoon, indulges in reckless behaviour. This impulsive behavior involves sex with random strangers, addiction to heroin, multiple affairs, which ultimately end her marriage to a rather sweet and caring guy – Paul. Based on the popular memoir by Cheryl Strayed, Wild is Strayed’s attempt at redemption, her endeavor for a second chance at life. 

Wild offered me nothing new, that Into the Wild had not previously offered ; Into the Wild will always be one of my favourite movies of all times.  Strayed has not done anything that Christopher McCandless had not previously achieved. I am more sympathetic towards McCandless’s journey in his endeavor “to measure himself at least once, to find himself at least once in the most ancient of human conditions…” than with Strayed’s journey of salvation and introspection. 

Wild is just one long walk, along the Pacific Crest Trail, interlaced with Cheryl’s back story in the form of hallucinations. Witherspoon as Cheryl packs a comic image as a hiker who has set out to walk a trail of more than four thousand kilometres. Lugging a backpack that is heavier than her, Cheryl barely makes it to the first five miles of the trail across the Mojave Desert.  As it turns out, her difficulties have just begun; setting up tent is another ordeal thereafter which she realizes that she has carried the wrong lighter fluid for the stove. But Cheryl has spunk and she decides to battle it out. She grows accustomed to the grueling walk and meets a host of people during her walk – a solo female hiker like herself, a pair of lecherous hunters, a trio of college students, another solo male hiker, a grandmother and her little grandson. We can only hope that these encounters leave Cheryl a different person. 

Wild is definitely a treat for the audience’s eyes. Yves BĂ©langer’s cinematography captures the authentic, alluring colours and panorama of the landscapes across the Trail. Cheryl is a keen reader as the audience figures out when she fills the log books with inspirational quotes by Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Adrienne Rich and James A. Michener.  Wild seamlessly portrays the monotonous and tedious nature of enduring a journey like this. But it also reminds you that it will be lonely, full of fatigue, often blurring the reality and ultimately inflict you with a rare and exotic kind of alienation.

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