Movie Review: Wild

imageJean-Marc Vallée’s Wild (B-) plots the course of a lost, grieving young woman along a thousand mile journey on the Pacific Crest Trail as she grapples in both adventures and flashbacks with the demons that haunt her and the passages of inspiration that could set her free. Reese Witherspoon gives an uncommon, relatable and lived-in performance as this drifter with a purpose and she imbues her character with a salty, off-kilter vernacular that’s like Hallmark for Heathens. Despite being a true story, it piles it on a bit thick: Our heroine even struggles with heroin. Few of the film’s episodic segments involving the struggle of the hike or the proto-feminist viewpoints about a “woman on the verge” are as moving or suspenseful or meaningful as seemingly intended, despite a feather-touch observational directorial style filled with montages of Laura Dern as a saintly but underdeveloped mother of the protagonist. Viewers will endure a bit of a slow-burn to the life lessons, yet it’s possible you might enjoy the trip.