Working through one’s pain takes incredible strength and courage. The ups and downs of the journey can drain you, taking away all of your will to go on. More often than not, a goal is set in order to tie the decrease of the pain and hurt to a triumph. These triumphs can be small or large. And they can only be defined by the individual in pain. As each person has a uniqueness to themselves, so do the triumphs. So it it with the primary character in Wild, Cheryl Strayed.
Strayed is played by Reese Witherspoon, In a performance full of soul and really daring in nature. Witherspoon just jumps in, baring herself (literally at times) in the most basic ways possible and enduring a physical trial that has to be seen to be believed. Because, in order for Cheryl Strayed to deal with her demons, she decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, 1100 miles from start to finish. Amazingly, she hiked it solo and without ever hiking any trail of any sort prior to trying to complete the Pacific Crest hike.
Strayed hiked the trail in order to deal with the pain of her divorce, drug addiction, and the death of her mother. She was unbelievably tough and determined and at times, she was very lucky. She was setting up camping equipment for the first time and relying on the good hearts of strangers to get by at times. But the physical toll on her body was just some thing that needs to be seen. She hiked in a pair of boots too small and absolutely tore her feet up. And since she had no ideas what she was doing, her pack was bigger than her and weighed almost as much. One of the lighter moments in the movie shows Witherspoon looking like a turtle on its back trying to get up with the pack on.
The only problem I have with this movie is that it seems a calculated effort to get Witherspoon her second best actress award. I want movies completed and done for the passion, not for awards. But alas, the same issue can be said about summer blockbusters and their intention to earn dollars at the box office.
3.5 stars – A Hitting a Mark recommendation.