Reece Witherspoon plays Cheryl Strayed, an American woman who after a divorce and death in the family leaves everything in her normal life behind to commence an epic journey of ‘self discovery’ along the famous Pacific Crest Trail. The movie is based on a screenplay of Nick Hornby’s film adaptation of the best-selling memoir, “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” written by the real-life Cheryl and based on her own personal experiences.
Hornby’s screenplay successfully captures the excitement, dangers and (lest not-forget) practical inconveniences found by the lone female traveller with a gritty realism that is a certainly not for the faint-hearted.
After a few disappointing roles of late, Witherspoon is back on form; her admiration for Strayed is keenly apparent in her raw and unadulterated portrayal of the lone traveller. Especially natural is her on-screen chemistry with Laura Dern and the pair are convincing as Mother and Daughter despite only a nine-year age gap between them in real-life.
As a twenty-something female I see nothing but admiration for what Strayed achieved, both in terms of walking 1,100 miles and, more importantly, by taking the active decision to remove herself from everything and everyone she knew in order that she could truly find herself and resolve her issues.
Her determination in Wild is empowering. It screams, ‘I’m not scared and I can achieve anything’… similarly, it also displays how the power of the mind is far greater than physical strength. The sheer grit and determination Witherspoon displays in her portrayal of Strayed elevates ‘Wild’ to an outstanding movie.
Wild is released in the UK on January 16th 2015
*** STOP PRESS – it’s just been announced Reese Witherspoon has been nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Cheryl Strayed in Wild. Stay tuned for more news. **