Woman in the wild

There is a long-existing notion in Western culture that women are not safe when alone, and that the woods are not safe. Combine those two &ldquo;dangers&rdquo; and you get <em>Wild</em>, a book and now movie, about a woman travelling alone in the woods with primarily her thoughts to keep her company. But rarely when reading or watching the story unfold did I feel its main character was unsafe.

Books being turned into movies will always be controversial. I, as an avid book lover, am naturally inclined to side with the book and immediately take the stance that it is 10 times better than any film version could ever be. Rarely is the movie on the same level as the book. But this year, I now have to eat my words because <em>Wild</em> is 100 per cent as good as the book of the same name.

Cheryl Strayed&rsquo;s story of her young adult life and experience hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in the &lsquo;90s fit perfectly on the big screen, with Reese Witherspoon playing the role of Strayed flawlessly. She didn&rsquo;t even wear makeup for the role, which makes sense because when you&rsquo;re carrying all of your belongings on your back and spending every day hiking, why would you wear makeup?

Strayed did a fairly spectacular job using only words to bring readers into the environment she experienced, but seeing the landscapes onscreen really brought me into the story even further.

My only complaint is the appearance of a CGI fox throughout the film, intended to represent Strayed&rsquo;s deceased mother. It was obviously not real and a little cheesy; but I guess it&rsquo;s probably hard to train a fox to act &mdash; they&rsquo;re too smart to take orders from a director.

Condensing a book into a script for a two-hour film means that details will be left out &mdash; it is unavoidable &shy;&mdash; but with the film version of <em>Wild</em>, I didn&rsquo;t feel cheated.

In particular, there is a scene where during her hike, Strayed meets two hunters of the sketchy variety. In the book, that scene had me on edge &mdash; it stood out a lot to me and transported me into Strayed world. I felt her fear when I read that scene and I felt no different during the film. It was spot-on and I was blown away.

Overall, this movie was wonderful and I can&rsquo;t wait to watch it again. It speaks strongly to women and the profound relationship that can exist between a mother and daughter. But it really is a movie for anyone who has ever felt lost or heartbroken. I&rsquo;d highly recommend it for students, especially those about to enter a stereotypical quarter-life crisis. The film and book convey the value of taking time and challenging oneself to not give up, no matter how much your feet hurt.


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