Wild (2014)

Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Writers: Nick Hornby, Cheryl Strayed (memoir: “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail”)
Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Gaby Hoffmann, Thomas Sadoski, Kevin Rankin
Running Time: 115 mins.

Following the death of her beloved mother and a life of disarray fueled by bad choices, drugs, divorce and useless sexual escapades, a woman decides to go on a 1,100-mile solo soul cleansing hike along the Pacific Crest Trail.  “I’m going to walk my way back to the woman my mother thought I was.”, she reports.  And so the long, slow, dangerous hike begins followed by numerous learning experiences along the way, both practical and spiritual.  

We learn through important flashbacks about her life before: her joyous mother (Laura Dern), a mentally absent brother, an abusive alcoholic father, an ex-husband and about how Cheryl Strayed “strayed” from the path of a normal and productive existence.

Lottta says Wild would have benefited from a leaner script but overall it’s a lovely film of self discovery, replete with true vision quest elements.  Reese has done well for herself in this role and I especially liked Laura Dern’s touching performance.  Thomas Sadoski plays the concerned ex-husband and Kevin Rankin appears as kindred spirit hiker she meets along the way.