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Wild – Review

 
 
Overview
 

Release Date: 19 December 2014 [USA]
 
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
 
Writer: Nick Hornby - Cheryl Strayed [memoir "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail"]
 
Cast: Reese Witherspoon - Laura Dern - Gaby Hoffmann
 
Direction
 
 
 
 
 


 
Writing
 
 
 
 
 


 
Performance
 
 
 
 
 


 
Sound & Music
 
 
 
 
 


 
Cinematography
 
 
 
 
 


 
Editing
 
 
 
 
 


 
Visual Effects
 
 
 
 
 


 
Total Score
 
 
 
 
 
4/5


User Rating
2 total ratings

 


0
Posted January 26, 2015 by

 
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Wild Review:

Now that Jean-Marc Vallée has put a toe inside the Oscar’s courtyard, it could be reasonable to think that his idea is to go even further. Tough luck as it is, 2015’s nominations concerning ‘Wild’ are only for “Best Actress” and “Best Supporting Actress”… well, last year, it was “Best Actor” and “Best Supporting Actor”, and Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto were properly rewarded for their performances. So, is there any hope this year for Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern ?

I have noticed that, since his acquaintance with the public, Jean-Marc Vallée (‘C.R.A.Z.Y.’, ‘The Young Victoria’ ‘Café de Flore’) has a true talent to flow from one movie to another with pretty much no logical link between them : ‘C.R.A.Z.Y.’ is a family drama, ‘The Young Victoria’ is a biopic, ‘Café de Flore’ is a choral movie with mystical issues, ‘Dallas Byers Club’, even as a biopic, can’t really be related to ‘Victoria’ for its narrative purposes, and then here’s ‘Wild’ where Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon, Oscar winner for “Best Actress” in ‘Walk the Line’) suddenly decides to quit her life and hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) on her own for about a thousand miles. I won’t blame Jean-Marc Vallée for his apparent desire to do his job as a director in such a various kind of ways, and even more when each movie he made is actually very good.

I was quite worry though, before I watched ‘Wild’, that it would be some kind of rip-off of ‘Into the Wild’ (which I simply loved, for so many reasons), so let me assure you : it is not. ‘Into the Wild’ is about the choice Alexander Supertramp made to live his life outside of the consumerism, to be in touch with something “more”. ‘Wild’ is about the choice Cheryl Strayed made to face herself, her story, her traumas, and finally get over and above a situation she couldn’t deal with. Some sort of auto-therapy no one prescribed her. Of course, there is some similarities between the two movies, such as the anodynes encounters with other humans, the generosity and open-mindedness of some, so very touching and comforting with the idea that, maybe the human race is not that bad after all (well, sometimes…).

I have absolutely no idea if the movie is faithful enough with the book the ‘true’ Cheryl Strayed wrote out of her experience, since I haven’t read it, but the script presents some powerful features nonetheless. The movie is like a puzzle : all along, you think you have an idea of the “why”, as in why should she put herself at harm like this ; you think you have an idea “how”, as in how did she go so down before realizing something was wrong in her life, and the film only gives clues once in a while, along the trail, along the encounters of fellow hikers. Needless to say the casting is very good as a whole, but I’m not convinced that neither Reese Witherspoon, nor Laura Dern (as Cheryl’s mother – and talented actress from many features such as ‘The Master’, ‘Inland Empire’, ‘I am Sam’) would win the so desired award this year : the movie is not academic enough, and the competition is quite tough !

Everything else is as worthy of congratulations as the story : the photography plunges us in the wilderness of the American West Coast (yes, California is not just about Los Angeles), the music scoring helps linking the dots between Cheryl’s memories, and it is always a true pleasure to listen to Simon & Garfunkel in front of such magnificent sceneries… especially for someone like me who grew up listening to them, as it seems Cheryl Strayed did too.

I would like to talk the opportunity here to ask a rhetorical question, which stroked me after the ending credits, in regard of this incredible journey : is it really possible that, raising a child with all the love and the care you could give him/her, can’t prevent him/her to fall somehow in oblivion ? I mean, every concerned parents is obviously thinking about the proper way to raise their children, and even though Bobbi, Cheryl’s mother, seemed to have raised her with all her strength, all her love, all her good will, it seems to me that it is this “all too much love” that led Cheryl to fall afterwards. It’s quite bothering, don’t you think, not to be certain of the consequences of our choices as a parent ? At least, this movie proves that sometimes, it is a good opportunity to be able to hit the bottom rock and then rise again, wiser and finally at peace.

 

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Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 15.21.38

Theo Tessa
@Theo_Tessa
Freelance Contributor


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