Wild (2014) ****

Wild is a biopic road movie, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, to a screenplay by Nick Hornby. It is based on Cheryl Strayed's 2012 memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. The film stars Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, Michiel Huisman and Gaby Hoffmann.
Wild follows the story of Cheryl Strayed, who took a 1000 miles journey, seeking to find redemption from the demons that haunt her. While her story is unique, in many ways it is not special. Countless people have taken, and, in fact, right this minute, may be on the road taking, similar such journeys. Treks such as the Camino de Santiago in Western Europe, and the Appalachian Trail in the USA, have drawn a multitude of travelers, some pursuing the solace of nature, others looking for insights; hoping to peek into the darkest corners of their own souls.
What makes Wild stand out is actually not so much the particular true story of its protagonist, but rather the film’s execution. Director Vallée, who last year yielded the notable Dallas Buyers Club, makes smart choices with respect to the way the story unfolds; its pace and focus. His work is well supported by the writing, editing and cinematography. Much of the credit goes to Reese Witherspoon, whose figure appears in almost every frame of the movie. Witherspoon proves yet again that she is capable of inhibiting a complex character, lending it credibility, while allowing space for other cast members to further enhance the story. Notable is also Laura Dern, portraying Cheryl’s mother.
Wild does a good job navigating through murky waters, applying filmmaking techniques that do justice to both the story and the people who brought this tale to the big screen.