Review: Wild

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Title: Wild
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Jean-Marc Vallee
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Thomas Sadoski, Laura Dern
Runtime: 1 hr 55 mins

What It Is: Cheryl Strayed (Witherspoon, in an Academy Award nominated role) is hellbent on completing her trek across the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) a 2,600 miles hiking trail that stretches from the border of Mexico to the border of Canada. Her reasons for escaping reality are many. It could be she’s trying to get away from her drug addiction. Perhaps she just needs to be away from other people given her recent divorce from her husband Paul (Sadoski). It might be however that she still isn’t over the death of her mother Bobbi (Dern) who was only in her mid-40’s. As she exercises these demons she’ll find out what she’s truly made of both physically and emotionally.

What We Think: Reese Witherspoon gives the best performance of her career here. Not since Walk the Line ten years ago has she truly been lost in a character. While watching the film I never for a second thought to myself that I was watching anyone else but Cheryl Strayed. That’s the mark of a great performance, when the actor is inseparable from the character. Laura Dern earned a Best Supporting nomination and after having seen her emotional portrayal I’m on board for that nom. There’s a sense of wonderment about the cinematography that draws you in to the nature and makes you feel a part of the journey. Director Vallee as he did with his last film Dallas Buyer’s Club takes a heartbreaking story and strips it down to the humanistic elements of it all.

Our Grade: A-, Certainly a fantastic film and one worthy of it’s accolades. Witherspoon carries the whole show on her shoulder, and carries the weight of it like Cheryl does her gigantic backpack. I fully believe that had Julianne Moore not held together Still Alice with the brilliance she did this would be Reese’s award to win. Laura Dern however I don’t feel has much shot at winning, that honor will probably go to Patricia Arquette.

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