Reese Walks The Line (Movie Thoughts: Wild)

I really was dreading seeing “Wild.”  I have soured on Reese Witherspoon, not that I was a big fan of hers o begin with, and from what I had heard, Cheryl Strayed’s memoir of which this is based on, was an exercise on self-indulgence and self-help bull, a la Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love.” But I know this movie is sort of revered, and comes from Jean Marc Vallee, who directed last year’s “Dallas Buyer’s Club.” (And I was also surprised to see that the screenplay was by Nick Hornsby, of ‘About A Boy’ fame) So with the bar that low, I ended up really liking the movie a lot – it tells a journey of a woman’s acceptance, and in her solitude, she doesn’t necessarily find herself but more readies the next step of her life. Witherspoon, to me, seems to playing Reese with an edge: oh look at her without makeup, swearing, shooting heroin, showing her breasts. In the end, it still felt like Reese, and she was the part I did not believe in the whole film. But she was still able to essay the character believably – I just imagined her beauty team touching her up between takes. The film still worked despite that. Everyone has been raving about Laura Dern’s performance here but to me it’s much ado but little. It could have been played by any other actress, and isn’t she only eight years older than Reese anyway? Wild is a great journey, even if you don’t like who you are traveling with.

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