by Mark Wilshin
Much like John Curran’s Tracks at last year’s London Film Festival, Jean-Marc Vallée’s Wild follows one lone woman Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) trekking 1000 miles across desert, mountains and forest up the west coast of the United States along the Pacific Crest Trail. Based on Cheryl Strayed’s own account of her adventure, it’s hiking as therapy as she tries to undo her wild past – a downward spiral of sleeping around, heroin addiction and divorce since her mother Bobbi (Laura Dern) died of cancer. Despite some tender moments – such as Cheryl’s tearful breakdown after a boy’s rendition of Red River Valley, we remain on the surface of her trauma – never quite entering the emotion of it. But shot in a crepuscular light with an emotive, sensual use of rapid flashbacks, Wild – much like the vistas Cheryl wanders through – makes for beautiful soul food.
Wild is showing on Oct 13th, 15th & 16th at the 58th BFI London Film Festival