Film review: “Wild” (2014)

UnknownYoung standard issue Blonde woman sinks to the bottom of multi-modal self degradation then resolves to “be the woman my mother wanted me to be” by walking 1100 miles of dangerous, treacherous terrain on foot with a big, heavy back pack?


Something not quite right with this picture. The conventional wisdom seems to be that facing self imposed, prolonged arduous conditions provides more emotional catharsis than sore feet. The myth of (metaphorically speaking) the “open road” as a life-improving event.

Unclear if there is any real basis for this myth. History shows that the open road leads mainly to isolation and insanity as befell most of the 50’s Beat Generation. The caption on the “Easy Rider” poster in my den reads: “A Man went looking for America……and couldn’t find it”.

The higher reality is never revealed, that the media perception of the “open road “has effectively been pasteurized, homogenized, standardized and the loose ends connected.

This analysis from a guy (me) who ascended to the top of the world in Nepal in 1983 and rode a motorcycle alone 1000 miles through rain, fog and mountain passes along the Adriatic Coast in 2012. There was a huge difference between Cheryl Strayed and me though. When I reached to top of the world I was cold, exhausted, sleep deprived and Dyspneic. I didn’t do it to cleanse my soul. I just wanted to see it, and when I saw it, I had no interest in seeing it again. Nothing changed in my life other than I stored memorable photographs of the experience in my brain and my desktop Mac.

I tend to believe that journey’s like that of Cheryl Strayed for the purposes of emotional cleansing are a delusion. A controlled study of such journeys compared to a couple of months of “therapy” would yield few differences and I don’t much believe in therapy either. A jaded part of me thinks that this journey may have some roots in Cheryl’s potential to get rich off books and screenplays.

I remain not too impressed with “Wild” other than good photography.

I give it 2 of 5 seventy pound backpacks. Too heavy to be functional.

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