Wild is the story of Cheryl Strayed, a woman destroyed by the death of her mother. Cheryl has fallen into a seriously self-destructive spiral, shooting up heroin, having sex with strangers, sabotaging her marriage. One day she hits her own version of bottom, and while in a drug store, spies a travel book, for hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, and she sees some sort of peace there. Her mother was that rare, truly good, happy-in-spite-of-it-all person, and told her many times to find the beauty in life, to let that beauty find her and wash over her. So she decides that the way to come to terms with the person she has become is to hike this trail…from the Mexico/U.S. border up into Oregon. She has no experience hiking, no experience with her camping equipment, no knowledge of what she is getting herself into. But into it she must get.
Along her journey, we are shown many flashbacks of her life up to now…life at home with her mother and brother, her mother’s illness, her marriage, her self-destructive behavior. She is struggling with these memories, and not so much trying to absolve herself or find forgiveness for her sins, but rather to come to terms with who she is, and see if there is a glimmer in there of the woman her mother wanted her to be.
I really liked the movie a lot. Reese Witherspoon is definitely an Oscar contender for her performance as Strayed. Laura Dern (who isn’t that much older than Witherspoon) did a fabulous job as her mother. Go see if it you get a chance.