Every now and again, you see a film that really sinks in, deep down, and resonates with you. A film that pulls on heart strings and causes thoughts to swirl up into a dust storm in your head, fogging your vision. A film that captures you, and encapsulates you, and doesn’t let you go until long after you’ve finished watching it.
This is one of those films, for me.
This movie about a troubled girl who needs to get away from civilisation and heads into the desert and forrest to get away from her past to try and find herself, makes me think a lot about myself, particularly when life gets too hard and I try and retreat. I just wish I’d had a trick like this up my sleeve.
On a true adventure of self discovery, Cheryl Strayed hiked 1100 miles alone, in order to get over the severe hardships her life faced, that earns the woman some serious kudos points as far as I’m concerned. I’m all for camping a few days here and there, but we are talking over 90 days in the wilderness with a small tent, mush and very sore feet.
The film is stunningly shot, depicting gorgeous scenery and vast, yet confining landscapes; the overall tone certainly sits very well with that of the story being told. I have to admit, the imagery alone had me contemplating doing a small stretch of the hike myself. Starting out in the desert, as Cheryl hikes north, the landscape changes and becomes more lush, more mountainous, more inviting. And while very subtle, the camera work and cinematography are both very pleasant to watch.
Then there’s Reese.
She was fabulous in the role, and it’s no wonder, as Cheryl herself sent a copy of the book to Reese 5 months before it was released, in anticipation that were it ever to be made into a film, Reese, and only Reese, should play her character. The emotion that she injects into Cheryl onscreen is just the right amount, the sex scenes have just the right amount of (tasteful) nudity and awkwardness, the drug scenes the right amount of pain, the aura of giving up and being lost.
The character was not a particularly easy role to play – it was severely emotionally charged, but above and beyond that, it was also very physically demanding. I was really impressed with Withersoon and her representation of the range of emotion and the constant pain, coupled with determination.
For me, the film just struck a cord. I’ve been there, maybe not to the same extent, I’ve not done drugs, or yet lost someone more important or close to me than a grandparent or boyfriend; but just understanding that desire to wipe the slate clean, to start over and re-discover yourself. Maybe, one day, I’ll have the opportunity to do just that.
If you get an opportunity to see this film, I very highly recommend it. And am also very much looking forward to reading the book as well.
Also, it has foxes.