Finally, the film industry has received something beautifully realistic and woman-led: Wild. The film stars Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed, a woman who decides to hike thousands of miles along the Pacific Crest Trail on her own. Wild tells Cheryl’s true story of overcoming hardships and deciding to hike independently to find herself and come to terms with her prior self-destructive decisions.
Despite the many people Cheryl meets and her inexperience hiking such a large trek, she travels on her own, holding everything she needs – whether it’s food, shelter, water or clothing – right on her back. Reese shows the true frustrations of being put into compromising situations outdoors, as her character faces many obstacles during her hike. Although she becomes upset, frustrated or downright afraid, she continues to push through. Most films revolve a male lead, or a female lead whose main concern is her relationship, and it’s truly refreshing to see a woman’s personal journey of growth and discovery. The film better represents real-life women who have other interests besides relationships, showing the complexity of females in ways that the film industry often neglects.
Cheryl’s story is proof that any person can change their life. Before hiking, she was a self-destructive sex and drug addict after the loss of her mother. By taking the hard road and proving that she can be the daughter her mother would be proud of, she learns to forgive herself and move forward. This film speaks volumes about the measure of our own capabilities as human beings. Reese is on the screen by herself for most of the film, and she does an incredible job of expressing emotions about her current travels as well as her past experiences. She brings genuine wit and humor to her character, which makes it enjoyable to watch even during the cringe-worthy moments. This film might be the best of Reese’s entire career. She truly immerses herself in her role, making it easy to forget that she’s a well-known actress.
Through her travels Cheryl learns that sometimes it’s the wrong choices that bring people to the right places. Almost everyone makes wrong choices, and it’s inspiring to think that the worst times can lead people to live much better lives. Wild makes it easy for a viewer to connect with Cheryl’s story – even if they’ve never hiked in their life. Reese expresses a true human feeling that can be difficult to express: Vulnerability. She shows the vulnerability that Cheryl felt during her hike, but portrayed an array of emotions that arrived while pushing herself into becoming the strong woman that she would become.
Wild is a definite must-see, motivational film for those who are looking for something that doesn’t revolve around a romantic relationship. Cheryl’s story is compelling and unlike any other, and Reese plays her in the most realistic way through this emotional movie. The movie vividly captures the modern, independent woman of today and I would highly recommend it to any female who’s climbing hurdles of her own.