Review: Wild

Editor’s Note: Wild has its last screening at the Gulbenkian TONIGHT at 9.15pm. You can buy tickets here: http://www.thegulbenkian.co.uk/events/cinema/2015/February/2015-02-wild.html

Three nights ago, I had the opportunity to view the film Wild at the Gulbenkian cinema at the University of Kent.

Wild has been garnering a lot of attention lately, particularly in conversations concerning the Academy Awards. Wild is directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who also directed last year’s Oscar-winning film, Dallas Buyers Club. Vallée has a tendency to bring out the maximum potential of his cast.

In 2014, Dallas Buyers Club earned Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto their Oscars for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively, effectively bringing about what film pundits are now calling the McConaissance. This year, Vallée has repeated the feat once more, with Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern getting Oscar nominations for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress for this film.

However, it is unlikely that any of the two nominations will bear fruit, seeing as the winners for these two categories have all but been locked down. Julianne Moore looks a sure winner for Best Actress for her performance in Still Alice and Patricia Arquette seems almost predestined to win Best Supporting Actress for Boyhood.

That being said, getting a nomination is an achievement in itself, and one can see why many are calling Witherspoon’s latest performance as one of her greatest in a long time…

Make that a very long time. Still, after her performance in this film, nobody should doubt her capabilities as an actress. She’s got an Oscar nomination guys; that ranks her in the top five of actresses of last year. We can forget about This Means War now!

Wild tells the true story (Oscars – man, they love their true stories) of Cheryl Strayed, following her journey as she walks more than 1,000 miles across the Pacific Crest Trail. Her journey is more than just a sudden urge to walk though, (she actually decides to do it after glancing at a pamphlet on a shelf). It’s just as figuratively, metaphorically and spiritually a journey as it is literally. Cheryl walks for redemption, forgiveness, but most of all, to rediscover herself after years drowning in a muddled sea of drugs and meaningless sex (for reasons you will discover after watching the film but trust me, they’re pretty fair reasons).

Wild is an amazing film. It’s pretty to look at (the Pacific Crest Trail offers plenty of beautiful scenery), the timeline is in non-chronological order (linear timelines seem to be out of fashion these days) and the performances are fantastic (I repeat, double Oscar nominations). My only gripe would be with the ending of the film.

That’s my one negative about the film, it doesn’t have an ending. Now I suppose one could argue that oh, it’s a metaphor that life goes on, that it doesn’t really end and yada yada yada. Personally, I would like a solid ending instead of, y’know, shots of a bridge and our main character closing her eyes.

But that’s just me.

All in all, A+ effort by everyone who worked on the film. Did it deserve the two Oscar acting nominations? Yes. Did it deserve any other nominations, including Best Director and Best Picture? Probably not.

It’s still a good film though, so hurry up and go watch it.

DARREN CHEW

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