Wild | Salt Lake City Weekly
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  Rated R · 115 minutes · 2015

Biography, Docudrama
In the opening sequence of this adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) lets loose a primal scream in the middle of her 1,000 mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to the Canadian border. Wild’s one and only job is to help us understand the personal demons behind that scream—and the movie just doesn’t pull it off. Director Jean-Marc Valée (Dallas Buyers Club)—working from an script by Nick Hornby—weaves back and forth in time between Strayed’s three-month journey in 1995 and the events that drove her to it, including the death of her beloved mother (Laura Dern) from cancer, and struggles with drug and sex addiction. That structure never allows the relationship between Strayed and her mother to feel as powerful as she keeps saying it was, nor does Witherspoon’s performance strike the right tone of seen-it-all toughness during her most dangerous encounters on the trail. There’s enough tension in individual moments to maintain basic attention to the story, but those moments never add up to more than a howl in the wilderness without a real sense for who’s howling, or why.

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Staff Rating:
Official Site: www.foxsearchlight.com/wild
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Producer: Reese Witherspoon, Bruna Papandrea, Bill Pohlad, Bergen Swanson, Nathan Ross and Nick Hornby
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, Michiel Huisman, Gaby Hoffmann, Kevin Rankin, W. Brown, Nick Eversman, Mo McRae, Keene McRae, Brian Van Holt, Cliff De Young, Will Cuddy and Leigh Parker

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