Wild23 Nov 2015
I was surprised that Nick Hornby, an otherwise excellent screenwriter, was less effective at adapting this source material for the screen. To me, WILD, seemed like a clear example of the same story succeeding as a book, but faltering as a movie. With this as the page from which Vallée was directing, he had only a few places to go. Smartly, he chose to focus on the natural surroundings as the source of visual energy.
Reese Witherspoon, also given little to work with, was more successful than her colleague screenwriter and director. Her prickly, measured portrayal of Cheryl Strayed was what the character and the film required. Strayed has a lot of wisdom and grace to share on the page, but at this age in her life, she was still figuring things out. Witherspoon was right to portray Strayed at 26 when she was hiking, rather than 39 when she wrote the book.
Strayed’s journey, her book, Witherspoon’s development and production of this film, and the success it had upon release are important milestones in the history of feminism in film. It is unfortunate that Hornby and Vallée couldn’t do more for this film.