“Denying her wounds came from the same source, as her power!!!!”
WILD is an introspective and retrospective look into the life on a young woman who’s lost her way, no more like, she’s lost HERSELF. The above should really give you an idea of why this film is an absolute personal cinematic achievement for Reese Witherspoon, and also why this film could not be more timely. First let’s talk about:
I had my doubts when I heard Reese Witherspoon had been cast initially because I wasn’t certain if she could perform strongly enough to be in nearly EVERY SINGLE frame of a film. I can say happily, I was indeed incorrect in my assumption.
Cheryl Strayed’s journey and the people she encounters is so poignant, so moving, so scary and yet, you can’t imagine this wasn’t the place and moment in time that she was destined to be. There are so many times during this film, when Cheryl’s situation and how she’s come to be where she is, is an immediate reflection upon our own lives in some way. It’s so much more about living just for the sake of actually LIVING as opposed to existing for the sake of dying.
You’re moved, the earth moves, you’re pulled in my this enormous black hole of guilt and yet you find yourself being redeemed in ways you never even began to imagine. The physicality of this role and the strength both physical and emotional that Reese Witherspoon had to endure in order to give us Cheryl Strayed? Method yes, but mind-blowing all the more so!!!!
Another example of a near perfect casting? Laura Dern as Cheryl’s Mum Bobbi. I can’t even begin to describe how key it was to GET IT RIGHT. The connection between Cheryl and Bobbi is so strong you can almost see the physical manifestation of the lines between them.
The parallels in how each Mother and Daughter lived their own broken lines is absolutely frightening. “I was never me…” Bobbi tells her children and yet even in that simple and short statement there is such a triumphant story. Why Mums are the way they are, why they make the ultimate sacrifices for their children, why they endure the things they do, all to give their legacy the brightest future possible.
The contacts, the connections, the random people out on the trails with Cheryl, some who add to her life, her experiences, and some who solely exist to take something away. They’re not merely ships, they ports of call, they’re antagonist, protagonists. They’re reminders of humanity and how key it is not only to be true to yourself, but always to present your best self to others especially if they mean something to you.
Cheryl’s connection to her ex-husband Paul, who sanctions her journey and yet doesn’t initially feel she has what it takes to go the distance. He’s a motivator and a skeptic all in once played nearly perfectly by Thomas Sadoski. The people who are helping her along her journey are just as lost as she is in many ways and yet there she is, not necessarily looking for guidance, so much as beacons to light things up when the darkness overwhelms her.
What Does Not Work
Honestly? If I could find something, I would tell you but alas I am unable to do so. There are some minor issues with the flashing from past to current day, but they’re not so much flaws as they are wake up calls or sorts, to remind you what’s holding you down and lifting you up all at the same time.
I leave you with another quote from this film that has stuck with me from the very moment I heard it and will become a permanent fixture in my life as I live and breathe:
“I Found My Own Way Out Of The Woods….”
Yes Cheryl, you did indeed, and I know a few more people you helped find they own way out of the woods, TOO.
Joyll Cambridge hails from Manchester, United Kingdom and currently lives in New York, New York. She loves all things movies, fitness and swirling. To read Joyll’s personal blog at The Humanist Exec, click here.
Joyll joined our team as our Resident Movie Reviewer. To contact Joyll or request a review of a specific movie, email her at SheCritiques@TheSwirlWorld.com.
Copyright ©2014 Michelle Matthews Calloway, ASwirlGirl™, The Swirl World™, The Swirl World Podcast™, All rights reserved. Photo of Joyll Cambridge used with permission. Movie poster from the movie “Wild” obtained from IMDB.