Witherspoon’s raw and honest trek

A character-driven story of self-discovery, multiple Oscar-nominated film Wild is an exciting new voyage for star Reese Witherspoon. Jess Layt offers her take on the film.
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Wild is raw, uncensored and utterly moving.

The title could easily refer to either the terrain or the film’s driving force, main character Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon).

Strayed’s tale is true, and based on the very real woman’s life-changing 93-day conquering of the Pacific Crest Trail, from the US-Mexico border to the US-Canada border through California and Oregon.

The real Strayed even makes a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo at the start of the film, launching her screen counterpart into phase one of her journey.

Through non-sequential flashbacks, the audience learns of Strayed’s tumultuous life – her relationships with her mother (Laura Dern) and husband, battles with substance abuse and hard choices – and the circumstances that led her to begin her trek.

Wild is entirely driven by Witherspoon’s Strayed, who is quite unlike any of the Oscar-winning actress’ previous characters – she’s sassy and smart, self-indulgent and sarcastic, scared and sorry, strong and stubborn.

Strayed never feels inauthentic, she experiences emotions and dilemmas that are immediately relatable, though her decisions may be more extreme.

She’s far from a saint, she makes terrible decisions, but she faces this head on and makes herself a deal – to walk herself back to the woman her mother raised.

And her walk has everything: danger, beauty, hopelessness, pain both physical and emotional, kindness and simple pleasures.

Witherspoon’s role demands everything of the actress and she doesn’t hold back, giving herself completely to the character and laying aside all self-consciousness – she is thoroughly deserving of her Oscar nomination.

Like director Jean-Marc Vallée’s last, highly acclaimed film Dallas Buyer’s Club, Wild is filmed with an almost minimalistic style – there’s no extraneous gloss, no beautification to elevate the story out of the grounded, ordinary world that we live in.

But at the same time, it is still a stunningly beautiful film, and that all comes from the gorgeous landscape and Witherspoon herself – there’s not a lick of make-up on her for the majority of the film, and she has never been more beautiful.

Wild is the kind of film that makes you take stock of your own life, both to marvel at how lucky you are and to wonder what you have achieved, and what you could still achieve.

Wild is an absolute victory for strong, determined, layered, complicated female characters.

It’s not a movie that you watch, it’s a movie that you feel.

Wild is rated MA15+ and is in cinemas now.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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