Movies, Drama


No Comments 20 March 2015


If I ever were to teach at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, I now have an idea for my very first seminar.  I would have students compare the script for Wild and for The Theory of Everything.

Wild  has what The Theory of Everything lacks so profoundly: Insightfulness,  depth, and the ability to tell a story that is compelling. Both films face a very similar task:  To present a person’s life in way that is interesting for other people to watch. Wild  is also based also on a autobiography. Cheryl Strayed life has fallen apart. When she does not feel that going to a therapist is helping her to get out of her funk, she decides to try something extreme: To hike alone all way from the US/Mexican border up to the border to Canada. Her hope is that she will be forced to get back in touch with her true self.  Until I watched this film, I did not even know that a hiking trail called Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) runs from Mexico to Canada (Map of trail) through the wilderness away from civilization. The film covers the Cheryl’s 70 days of difficult hiking through California and Oregon. Many hikers give up on the trail because of dehydration, extreme weather and dangerous wildlife.  Making an interesting film about this experience may strike a lot more difficult then making a film about the life of Stephen Hawkings. But the film is marvelous. Through flashbacks we learn step by step why Cheryl ended up in such a mess and we can feel how proving herself that she can endure the hardship of hike through desserts and snow fields she can find back to being in charge of her life. Reese Witherspoon, who for most of the movie is alone in front of camera, gives a stellar performance. The film has the poetry and beauty that eluded The Theory of Everything.  Seeing the film I wanted to hike parts of the PCT myself.



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