Director: Jean-Marc Vallee
Writer: Nick Hornby
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, Gaby Hoffmann
Studio: 20th Century Fox

“Wild” was a book about a rather privileged woman rediscovering herself. Like minded individuals help to turn that non-fiction work into a bestseller which attracted a great deal of talent to turn into a film. The art of adapting text to screen has a legendary history of tricky sidestepping. As a result, the film of “Wild” has turned into something that sits between first world problems and a lackluster episode of Behind the Music. But, how bad could it be?

Reese Witherspoon couldn’t have been better cast. 16 years ago, she introduced the world to Tracy Flick and she took that role as a career calling card. Watching a young woman go from dreck like “Cruel Intentions” to headlining major films is pretty amazing. But, public outbursts and related tone deaf appeals to the public show the world what a Flickian life delivers. A pitch perfect archetype of the modern woman in the first world. We live in a post Eat, Pray, Love world and I’ve talked before about how much of the blame lays at the feet of Elizabeth Gilbert.

That being said, Cheryl Strayed has a created a semi-fiction of her life that tells a damning tale of the modern female. No matter what you do, you’re right. You can abuse your mother, friends and live life like a decadent Emperor at the end of Rome. But, as long as you find yourself and hold onto tenuous beliefs…you’re going to be OK. Such self-centered bullshit is destroying this country and to see anyone celebrate this work makes me want to vomit. Laura Dern is great in it, but she doesn’t get enough time to shine. I know it sounds bad, but Reese Witherspoon is good at creating a character that deserves your hate. More than anything, her Cheryl is barometer of taste. Go see this one with a crowd and watch the person who enjoys it a little too much.

While that might sound a wee bit judgmental, it’s worth taking the time to understand the audience for movies like this. Much like the self-help books that used to line the walls of your local bookstore, there’s an audience out there that keeps this material afloat. For a growing social scene that wants to reject First World problems, Western audiences sure love indulging them at the cinema. Does this mean that we’re a pack of hypocrites or people like Cheryl are our best entry points to modern cinema? It’s worth considering as you leave the theater.


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