Wild: The Movie
Last week we reviewed Wild (the book), written by Cheryl Strayed in 2012. Today we’ll reflect on the movie, an adaption of the book, which came out in December 2014 and is still running in theaters.
After having just finished the book, I was sensitive to the differences – where the producers and directors had decided to veer from the book, and therefore the memories of Strayed, in order to create an entertaining film.
Most notable was what the filmmakers decided to leave out. More than a few characters got axed from the movie including Cheryl’s sister along with some of her trail companions and people she met along the way. While, many of the details of trail life were also left out, they did include subtle references throughout the movie that alluded to the original details. The sudden appearance of her pink hiking poll or Bob Marley shirt might have seemed random in the movie but are a nod to the book readers and the original narrative.
Interestingly, perhaps for increased drama, they kept almost all of the scenes where Cheryl feels uncomfortable or unsafe. Unfortunately, this means that many examples of kindness and generosity were left out, leaving a skewed impression of the people on the trail.
Yet, for all that the movie left out, film has a huge addition: its visuals. In the book Strayed smoothly transitions to stories of her past in between explanations of her journey. The film adds bursts of excitement by quickly slicing together clips showing skin, heroin, crying within a few seconds time. The flashbacks become more important to the emotion of the film than the actual story.
The Pacific Crest Trail has some of the most beautiful landscapes in America so having sweeping visuals alone made the movie worth watching. And even with the portrayal of the PCT as a trail filled with a disproportional amount of creeps, we still left in awe of the beauty and inspired to one day set out to hike it.