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Walk it off

More from than toward.

Wild: My, but that’s a heavy load she’s carrying.
Wild: My, but that’s a heavy load she’s carrying.

Wild tells the story of a woman named Cheryl Strayed (an unadorned Reese Witherspoon) and her attempt to, in her words, “walk myself back to the way I was.” How was she? “I was strong,” she attests. “I was responsible. I wanted things.” What she wants now — and seems both strong enough and responsible enough to achieve — is to hike north for 1100 miles or so along the Pacific Crest Trail. And what director Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyer’s Club) wants is for us to travel right alongside her.

Walking is slow business. To break the monotony, Vallée tosses in encounters with other hikers, rednecks, bikers, Deadheads, and even an amazed journalist from the Hobo Times. (“Women can’t walk out on their lives!” Strayed barks at him in one of the film’s funnier moments. Who can’t what now, lady?) Vallée will also dole out an artful array of flashbacks to help you understand just what Strayed is running, er, hiking from. Mostly, it has to do with Mom, played with great, vulnerable appeal by Laura Dern. And, yes, despite Strayed’s stated goal, the trajectory is much more from than toward.

Movie

Wild *

thumbnail

The story of Cheryl Strayed (an unadorned Reese Witherspoon) and her attempt to, in her words, "walk myself back to the way I was." The path to the past runs 1,100 miles or so along the Pacific Crest Trail. Walking is slow business. To break the monotony, director Jean-Mark Vallee (Dallas Buyer's Club) tosses in encounters with other hikers, rednecks, bikers, Deadheads, and even an amazed journalist from the Hobo Times. He also doles out an artful array of flashbacks to help you understand just what Strayed is running, er, hiking from. (Mostly, it has to do with Mom, played with great, vulnerable appeal by Laura Dern.) Alas, this is a journey that ends, not because it reaches some actual dramatic resolution, but because the author (the real-life Strayed wrote the memoir that serves as source material) tells you she's done. We know she's different, not because of anything in particular that's happened, but because she says so. Strayed comes across as a real person, Witherspoon is a real actor, and the film is a real showcase. But you may wind up wishing for more to change than the scenery.

Find showtimes

This is a journey that ends, not because it reaches some actual dramatic resolution, but because the author (the real-life Strayed wrote the memoir that serves as source material) tells you she’s done. We know she’s different, not because of anything in particular that’s happened, but because she says so. (Literally: “I found my way out of the woods.”) Before her journey, she’s having sex with strangers. Near the journey’s end, she’s having sex with a stranger. Before her journey, she’s doing heroin. Near the journey’s end, she’s puking up whiskey. Before the journey, she’s sad about Mom. By journey’s end, she’s still sad about Mom — but maybe a little less so? Strayed comes across as a real person, Witherspoon is a real actor, and the film is a real showcase. But I couldn’t help wishing for more to change than the scenery.

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Wild: My, but that’s a heavy load she’s carrying.
Wild: My, but that’s a heavy load she’s carrying.

Wild tells the story of a woman named Cheryl Strayed (an unadorned Reese Witherspoon) and her attempt to, in her words, “walk myself back to the way I was.” How was she? “I was strong,” she attests. “I was responsible. I wanted things.” What she wants now — and seems both strong enough and responsible enough to achieve — is to hike north for 1100 miles or so along the Pacific Crest Trail. And what director Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyer’s Club) wants is for us to travel right alongside her.

Walking is slow business. To break the monotony, Vallée tosses in encounters with other hikers, rednecks, bikers, Deadheads, and even an amazed journalist from the Hobo Times. (“Women can’t walk out on their lives!” Strayed barks at him in one of the film’s funnier moments. Who can’t what now, lady?) Vallée will also dole out an artful array of flashbacks to help you understand just what Strayed is running, er, hiking from. Mostly, it has to do with Mom, played with great, vulnerable appeal by Laura Dern. And, yes, despite Strayed’s stated goal, the trajectory is much more from than toward.

Movie

Wild *

thumbnail

The story of Cheryl Strayed (an unadorned Reese Witherspoon) and her attempt to, in her words, "walk myself back to the way I was." The path to the past runs 1,100 miles or so along the Pacific Crest Trail. Walking is slow business. To break the monotony, director Jean-Mark Vallee (Dallas Buyer's Club) tosses in encounters with other hikers, rednecks, bikers, Deadheads, and even an amazed journalist from the Hobo Times. He also doles out an artful array of flashbacks to help you understand just what Strayed is running, er, hiking from. (Mostly, it has to do with Mom, played with great, vulnerable appeal by Laura Dern.) Alas, this is a journey that ends, not because it reaches some actual dramatic resolution, but because the author (the real-life Strayed wrote the memoir that serves as source material) tells you she's done. We know she's different, not because of anything in particular that's happened, but because she says so. Strayed comes across as a real person, Witherspoon is a real actor, and the film is a real showcase. But you may wind up wishing for more to change than the scenery.

Find showtimes

This is a journey that ends, not because it reaches some actual dramatic resolution, but because the author (the real-life Strayed wrote the memoir that serves as source material) tells you she’s done. We know she’s different, not because of anything in particular that’s happened, but because she says so. (Literally: “I found my way out of the woods.”) Before her journey, she’s having sex with strangers. Near the journey’s end, she’s having sex with a stranger. Before her journey, she’s doing heroin. Near the journey’s end, she’s puking up whiskey. Before the journey, she’s sad about Mom. By journey’s end, she’s still sad about Mom — but maybe a little less so? Strayed comes across as a real person, Witherspoon is a real actor, and the film is a real showcase. But I couldn’t help wishing for more to change than the scenery.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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