In the movies: Wild

Tess Riecke, Staff Writer

One of my many life goals is to hike the entire Appalachian Trail all at once. It will be difficult, but I know the outcome of hiking through the mountains will teach me more about my life and nature than my everyday life.

This is what Cheryl Strayed, played by Reese Witherspoon, thought when she decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.

The real Cheryl Strayed wrote about her time hiking the PCT after having her life fall apart.

After her mother died, she got into several bad situations that put her life in danger. When she learned she was pregnant, she decided to “walk [herself] back to the woman her mother thought she was.”

She bought a guide book and supplies and set out from Campo, Calif. at the southern most point of the trail. She made her way through the desert, through mountains and finally reached the end at E.C. Manning Provincial Park in Canada.

This is absolutely one of my favorite movies from this year. Everything about it from the acting to the cinematography is incredible.

Reese Witherspoon is known for her roles playing good girls who are wholesome and live charmed lives. Seeing her as a broken, drug- addled woman was a change that I welcomed.

One of my favorite scenes is when she is nearing the end of her hike and she comes across a little boy and his grandmother. He tells Strayed that he has a problem with his parents that he can’t tell strangers. Strayed then tells him about her problems and that they will go away with time.

The boy then sings “Red River Valley” to her, which causes Strayed to finally break down and feel the full pain of losing her mom.
The ending left me yearning to hike the trail and to look at life through a different lens.

Strayed was standing on the Bridge of Gods at the end of the trail and her voiceover was explaining her future life. She explains what the trail taught her and her experience.

All of the people Strayed met along the way had distinct personalities. The actors made me believe that, despite the fact her journey took place in 1995, these were the exact people the real Strayed came across.

It’s no wonder Witherspoon and Laura Dern (playing Strayed’s mother) were nominated at the Academy Awards.

Director of photography, Yves Bélanger, gave a realistic look of the landscape. I can’t tell you how annoyed I get seeing naturally beautiful landscapes altered and edited to look better digitally. Nature should be left alone in this way.

This movie is made for anyone who has any passion for the outdoors. It is also a great inspiration for anyone going through a hard time in life.

I just bought the book the real Cheryl Strayed wrote about the experience. I look forward to reading about it in more detail.