REVIEW: Wild | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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fourDirector: Jean-Marc Vallees

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Gaby Hoffmann

Run Time: 115 mins

Certificate: 15


Wild is Jean-Marc Vallees latest film, based on the best-selling memoir by Cheryl Strayed, played by Reese Witherspoon. It follows Cheryl’s journey along the Pacific Crest Trail, a hike that covers over 1000 miles across America, a trek she makes alone, “walking [herself] back to the woman [her] mother thought she was.” After her mother’s premature death, Cheryl finds herself in a downward spiral, leading to the breakdown of her marriage, promiscuity and drug-abuse. She decides to walk the 1000 miles, attempting to find herself again.

The film is beautiful, capturing Cheryl’s new found simple pleasures on her isolated journey and her pain in remembering those she left behind, not the mention the glorious shots of the wild landscapes she ventures across.

Witherspoon’s performance brings the film together, from her understated melancholia to moments of utter frustration where screaming at the top of her voice is the only appropriate reaction. She manages to capture the subtle difference between being alone and being lonely, a concept the film explores throughout, making us question where our strength really comes from.

The relationship between Cheryl and her mother was perfectly portrayed. They were endlessly grateful for one another and as she walks, Cheryl hums their favourite songs, reads their favourite books, recites their favourite poetry, getting her strength to continue from doing so. The soundtrack was lovely, complementing the nostalgic element of the movie. One of my favourite songs, mother and daughter anthem Never Go Home Anymore by the Shangri-La’s, which accompanied dances in the kitchen, guaranteed my love of the film.

Despite bloody blisters, broken toenails and red raw grazes from carrying your life on your shoulders, Wild really made me want to explore the trail myself. The vigour and bravery of Cheryl was inspiring to say the least and the film tackled such a spectrum of emotion, making it, in my opinion, unmissable.

Wild is now showing at the Tyneside Cinema.

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