If a 1,100 mile hike up the Pacific Crest Trail isn’t enough to “clear your head,” nothing will. Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, knows this firsthand. After a series of disastrous events including a divorce, the death of her mother, and a brief stint on the streets, the twenty-something made the long journey from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State alone and without any experience or training. Her book, a New York Times Bestseller and Oprah 2.0 Book Club selection, was voted Best Nonfiction Book of 2012 by The Boston Globe and Entertainment Weekly.
Director Jean-Marc Vallee of “Dallas Buyers Club” fame joined forces with Reese Witherspoon to bring Strayed’s story to the big screen. Witherspoon plays the lead and co-produced the film. To prepare for the role, she spent time getting to know Strayed intimately. The two were together at the film’s premiere at the Telluride Film Festival. Witherspoon was quoted by Deadline.com as saying, ““I don’t know which one of us cried more watching this.”
“Wild” takes its toll on the emotions. Written with a female audience in mind, it pulls at the heartstrings. Witherspoon, an accomplished actress, is said to have given her best onscreen performance since “Walk the Line.” An Oscar nod is thought to be headed her way. Mixed reviews, however, question the film’s need to revisit the past. It is said the reason behind the journey is significantly less important than the journey itself. The hike and what it had to teach Strayed is what’s important. Only time will tell how others will view the film as it makes its way to Vancouver next.
“Wild” opens in theaters nationwide on December 5th.