Back in 1995, a troubled young woman named Cheryl Strayed decided to hike 1100 miles in order to find herself. Along the way, she encountered a variety of challenges, setbacks and obstacles, many of which are recreated by filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallee in this episodic wilderness drama. Punctuated by a series of flashback sequences, the film finds Strayed (played by Reese Witherspoon) reflecting on her death of her beloved mother (Laura Dern), as well as the years of self-destructive behaviour that followed.
On the plus side, Vallee imbues the story with an appealing sense of authenticity, using handheld camerawork and natural light to give us an idea of what the real Strayed experienced. The problem, however, is that the whole thing lacks emotional weight — despite a committed performance from Witherspoon — while the ending is somewhat unsatisfying. As a result, Wild isn’t able to achieve the profundity that it aims for.