2014 Movie Reviews: Wild

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Reese Witherspoon is having one hell of a year. She was a producer for Gone Girl, which will likely be nominated for Best Picture. She’s in The Good Lie and Inherent Vice and most importantly, Wild, which she is predicted to be nominated for. That’s right, Reese is going to be nominated for two academy awards in one year, and as she would say, “What, like it’s hard?”

But this isn’t just Reese’s show. Jean-Marc Vall√©e, who proved his talent last year with Dallas Buyers Club, proves he wasn’t just a one-trick pony. With this track record, it’s not much longer until he gets a Directing nomination for one of his films. The screenplay is also a very well written, taking the account of the real Carol Strayed and fleshing a finely crafted story out of it.

But that’s not to say that Wild is a perfect movie, or even a truly great one. If you’ve seen the trailer, you should know exactly what kind of experience you’re in for. Nothing really surprises or ups the game on this genre of movie. It’s an Oscar bait biopic, and it does exactly what it’s supposed to do.

But, like most biopics, the best part is the central performance. Considering that she has to carry large portions of the film on her shoulders, and it is quite a physical and unglamorous role. There’s nothing phony to be found here, it’s a very lifelike performance. Now some people talk about Laura Dern as a possibility for a Supporting Actress nod. Personally, I don’t see it. She doesn’t get a ton of screen time and she doesn’t do a whole lot with the screen time she has.

At its core, Wild is a strong biopic with a strong performance at its core. It’s interesting to note that the story of Cheryl’s isolation is mixed in with her pit stops and flashbacks. So it’s not as much of a one-person show like 127 Hours or Gravity. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s not as good as those two movies. It’s a fine film, no doubt, But there are a ton of better films this year you can watch.

****

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