Monday, September 21, 2015

Wild - The Movie

Wild, a movie based on a 2012 book by the same name by Cheryl Strayed, was released in 2014. It played on HBO recently.

My book club read the book in 2013 (review at the link). I was ambivalent about the book, and when I heard that it would become a movie, I wondered how the filmmakers would manage that. The book was heavy and portrayed the heroine, such as she was, as rather ignorant. Nor was she someone to admire, even if she did hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Just because somebody takes a long walk doesn't mean they deserve admiration.

Reese Witherspoon starred as Cheryl. She did a nice job of portraying the character, though I confess when I looked the movie up I was surprised to learn she received an Academy Award nomination for the role. Laura Dern, who played Cheryl's mother, also received a nomination. I don't watch a lot of movies so maybe the standards are different now.

During this long hike, Cheryl reflects upon her mother's death. Her mother loved her, but her father was an alcoholic and mean, which can take a toll on a sensitive child. The reflective parts in the movie showed how this tortured past lead Cheryl astray (pun intended), probably better than the book did. The book spent a lot of time reflecting on her mother's death instead of earlier childhood demons. I was glad the movie reversed that.

It is hard to write a book that is reflective and which focuses on a single character to the exclusion of all else. It is hard to do a movie like that, too. The only one I can recall seeing that was successful in recent years is Castaway, with Tom Hanks. And even he had to invent a character with a volley ball to make some dialogue happen.

This is not a movie I would watch again. The acting was fine and the story didn't drag, but I guess I like my heroines to be a bit more, I don't know, loveable.


  1. we watched the movie last week and I was unimpressed. Simply was not in love with the story or the character. bleh

  2. Have not read the book or seen the movie -- yet -- but do remember it being up for a few Oscars.


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