“Wild” is the saga of one woman’s 1,100-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail as a way to recover from life’s downward spiral. Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon delivers a raw and introspective performance. As Cheryl Strayer, she asks us to walk a mile in her shoes as a way to eat, pray, love and get her head together. Your receptivity to this story may be dependent on your ability to identify with her situation.
After years of reckless behavior, including heroin addiction, sleeping around and destroying her marriage, Cheryl sets out, with no experience, carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. She faces the dangers of the elements and unfriendly strangers, only to be nominated for bum of the month by the Hobo Times. As she wrestles with inner thoughts, she tells one hiker, “I’m lonelier in my real life than I am out here.”
“Wild” is 115 minutes and rated R for sexual content, nudity, drug use and language. Laura Dern, only nine years older than Witherspoon, plays her dear mother, but this is a one-person show. It is superbly acted by Witherspoon and well directed by Jean-Marc Valee (“Dallas Buyers Club”).
Still, some may say, “Take a hike,” as Strayer goes a long way, while many in the audience didn’t get very far.