8Great: Wild about the movie WILD starring Reese Witherspoon
No Matter where you are, or where you’ve been, WILD, the movie directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (“Dallas Buyers Club”), starring Reese Witherspoon, is a must see for anyone with a dream or a life-goal.
It could also be simply a “want” to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, or “PCT” as an adventure of a lifetime. (The “PCT” is one of the country’s longest and toughest through-trails).
The book, “Wild: Lost and Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,” is a memoir about loss, adventures and personal growth written by Cheryl Strayed. Adapted into the 119-minute movie the film takes viewers on a minute by minute ride filled with the challenges. Straddling every emotional curve from angst to victorious, of one woman’s journey to reckon with her past, as she uncovers her self, moves through grief, and finds her truth.
Says Witherspoon, who produced the film with her partner Bruna Papandrea: “WILD is about so many things that touch people. It’s about life, love, loss and family. It’s about how a woman who thought she was completely broken, but found a way to reconstitute herself.”
See Behind the scenes with Reese Witherspoon sharing her thoughts about the film.
The movie also stars Laura Dern, who plays Strayed’s mom on film. A happy-go-lucky character, who chooses to look at the glass of life half full, despite a broken marriage to an abusive ex-husband and struggling to raise her two children on her own. She dies from cancer at 45 years of age, leaving Strayed and her brother in emotional shambles.
“How wild it was to let it be.”
— Cheryl Strayed
In the opening scene, we see a graphic image of a worn down Strayed, on her trek on the Pacific Coast Trail. Her feet are swollen and bloodied; she loses her big toenail from broken down hiking boots. As if a bad situation couldn’t get any worse, her backpack tumbles down to the bottom of the hill she has just climbed.
It’s not just this scene that leaves audiences at the edge of their seats, but a series of snapshots into Strayed’s past. Flashbacks tell her story as she walks the 1,100-mile trail from the Mojave to the Bridge of the Gods—linking Oregon and Washington State.
Alone on the trek, Strayed (Witherspoon) grapples with the loss of her mother, the end of her marriage to her husband, compiled by a heroin addiction, and unwanted pregnancy. She walks solo to heal inner herself.
Director Vallée adds: “WILD is the story of a woman who wants to change her life and decides to do it in a very drastic way by going on this hike on the PCT. It becomes quite a journey, a journey of discovering herself and facing life and asking herself all the hard questions. But it’s also a journey of redemption – that’s the thing.”
Like the protagonist in the book, Witherspoon plays Strayed poignantly—an award-worthy performance that has so far garnered her with nominations for a Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Award.
This 8Great piece features insights and behind the scenes of WILD, and shares with you moments from this heartfelt movie.
1. At the start of the movie, we see a tiny Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed take on the task of putting on an 80-pound backpack, dubbed “the monster”, which is as big as she is. A “I’m going to do it” message weaves through all aspects of the film.
Meet the monster backpack here
4. WILD Quote: “If your nerve, deny you, Go above your nerve.”– Emily Dickinson (as written by Cheryl Strayed in the PCT Trail Register)
5. Recalls Strayed: “It was a huge physical undertaking for me to hike the PCT for 94 days, but it was also very much a spiritual journey. I turned to the trail as many people turn to the wilderness — at a time when I felt lost and desperate, when I was in a place where I didn’t know how to move forward. In many ways the trail taught me to literally just put one foot in front of the other again.”
Scene from WILD: