Jean Marc Vallee delivered of one my favourite films of last year in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ which gained recognition for its acting and editing at the Academy Awards last year to which was deserving; this year, one of my favourite breakthrough directors has released ‘Wild’ which stars Reese Witherspoon in the leading role as she plays Cheryl Strayed, where she decided to hike 1000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail back in the mid 90’s as a way to heal herself from a series of emotional and physical stress in her life. Based on the real memoirs of Cheryl Strayed titled ‘Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail’, Reese Witherspoon displays an outstanding and what is a career best performance from the leading actress. Having already won an Oscar for her portrayal of June Carter Cash in Walk the Line 10 years ago; she delivers her most personal and emotional performance yet.
Having looking over her previous performances in the past, Reese Witherspoon doesn’t seem like the one who would expose themselves to a film like this. Cheryl Strayed is a troubled woman who has unfortunately gone through many troubles throughout her life starting from a young age and when you read the description of the character, Reese Witherspoon’s name wouldn’t shoot to mind when thinking about potential actresses to play the role. Due to her exemplary performance in ‘Wild’ my opinion of her as an actress has improved massively. Not only is Reese Witherspoon good, but so is the supporting actress Laura Dern who plays Reese Witherspoon’s mother Barbara Grey who also has gone through her entire life without much to hold on for and some emotional troubles throughout, but her character is so much more happier with the world. Laura Dern does provide us with a brilliant supporting role in ‘Wild’ which pleases me because it is hard to find a brilliant film where we have two actresses leading the show and dominating the screen.
Praise continues towards director Jean Marc Vallee, too. Keeping with the same tone as his previous direction in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’, he lays ‘Wild’ down and lets us indulge on what is a powerful film; and this is what I really admire about the director is that he is in a list a very few who actually make us feel for the story and the character. ‘Wild’ is definitely an adventure film, to which we feel like we are on the adventure alongside Reese Witherspoon throughout. I felt like a fly on the wall through the whole film; and Jean Marc Vallee seems to be the modern master at the moment at these kinds of stories. Hard to watch in scenes but very real in a sense that you know it’s a true story.
There isn’t anything wrong with ‘Wild’ that I could point out; perfectly paced and a comfortable running time with some breath-taking performances by Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern, both deserving of their nominations at the Oscars. Wild gets 4.5 out of 5 stars.