Somewhere early on, then midway, and later in the viewing of Wild did I want to run out of the theater. But I stuck it out and am glad I did. It’s a movie that you should see but it isn’t really enjoyable. You need to be in the mood for it, though I’m not sure what mood is appropriate.
The movie stars the pretty and talented Reese Witherspoon, based on the book Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. It’s the story of how one woman finds a way to get her out-of-control life together, needing to overcome both a self-made prison and a life she was dealt. No one asked to be raised by a single mom who runs from an abusive, alcoholic husband. No one asked to lose their mother at a young age. But she chose to violate her marriage and shoot drugs. Wild is about the choices we make, the ones made for us, how we deal with them, and how we find a path back to whom we believe we were or are capable of being.
It’s a movie about a journey, a thousand-plus-mile, 100-day hike into the unknown, of a woman who travels solo but manages to live within the limits and boundaries of an unforgiving nature.
The story of loss, adventure, and personal growth is hard to watch at times. You feel the burdensome weight of her oversized backpack. You feel her pain as her life is told in a series of unpleasant flashbacks. You feel for her always.
Seeing her on this self-imposed journey does not romanticize hiking but I did feel a bit stronger and determined as a result of seeing her overcome her struggles. If she can trudge on, despite the anguish and exhaustion then I could meet the challenges of whatever weighs me down.
Books and movies can do that to you. They lift us up, even if they first need to bring us down below the surface. Sometimes I want to be entertained and most often I want a movie that gives me inspiration, motivation, and a hunger for life. Above all, I look to escape to lives I never will live, to worlds I will never visit, to experiences I couldn’t fathom.
Wild takes us through the deconstruction of a young woman who searches for a foundation, who needs something to focus her on a new lifestyle. Thrusting yourself into the desert is one way, though not a common one. She wanted to find herself, to rediscover who she really is. When faced with fear and loneliness, you learn to survive. She quiets her world so she can hear just herself but doesn’t allow anything to distract her. She won’t just drink, eat, gamble, TV, sports, videogame or shop her way to her truth or destiny. She walked through her problems and hiked to not just a new destination but a state of mind.
It’s not Rocky, but it hits hard and leaves our heroine standing.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015
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