Wild ★★★★

tiff 2014 film #16

My guess is that Wild will never get the audience it deserves. Why? Because we've already seen Into the Wild and 127 hours and we might be tired of films about young folk who have the luxury of going on high risk adventures and end up paying the price. It is why I didn't pick Wild as a film I wanted to see at TIFF. I can't say for sure what changed my mind*, but I'm glad I did, because Wild is a much better film than those other two as far as I am concerned. Much better.

Yes, it involves a long hike. But the way Jean-Marc Vallée tells Cheryl Strayed's story is original and never boring. Of course he has to use narration and flashbacks to introduce certain elements of her story, but the methods never become tedious. They are always used succinctly and they are always on point. It is actually quite amazing how Vallée was able to interweave these narrative tools so expertly.

There is no real way I can find to talk about this film without making it sound like something that it is not.
Yes Chery Strayed is hiking to redeem herself, but that sounds so cliché and the film is anything but.
Yes she is looking to 'find herself' but goodness that sounds so psycho-babbly that I'm rolling eyes just writing it, and I saw and loved the film!
I could go on but here's the deal: the film is much more than any of its parts.
It works.
It works beautifully.
It is highly engaging, always entertaining and never Oprah-ish in the least.

Definitely worth seeing. And Witherspoon is great in it.

*Ah yes, it was Len's passion for Café de Flore (another Jean-Marc Vallée film) that changed my mind, so thanks Len!

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