WRITTEN BY: Nick Hornby
DIRECTED BY: Jean-Marc Vallée
STARRING: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski
RATING: 4 stars

Whenever a film explores a person's inner struggles and journey of self-discovery, we often see a lot of the same themes and ideas coming across. However, that does not make these films any less interesting to watch. Who does not love a story about a person overcoming personal tragedy and learning about who they are? In Wild, which is based on Cheryl Strayed's memoir, we get a great performance from Reese Witherspoon who carries most of the film on her own. It also has a poignant moral to the story and there are some very tense scenes to keep you on the edge of your seat, including several run-ins with men in which the audience's fear grows that she may be raped. The drama is also balanced out with some well-timed comedic moments.

With a script penned by Nick Hornby, Wild chronicles Cheryl's (Witherspoon) solo 1100-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail in an attempt to refresh her life and get away from the bad choices and personal tragedies in her past. As her travels progress, the audience is shown a series of flashbacks to moments in Cheryl's life that have led her to taking this hike - and some of the decisions she has made are surprising.

Aside from Witherspoon's stellar performance, Thomas Sadoski appears as her forgiving ex-husband, who unfortunately seems a little too saintly despite displaying some bitterness. He did not feel like a believable character considering everything she puts him through. Laura Dern is more convincing as Cheryl's self-destructive mother who is also incredibly sweet and sad. Somehow the fact that Dern is not old enough to be Witherspoon's mother does not hinder either of their performances or the story.

Ultimately, Wild is a good, if not particularly unique, film. It just would have had a stronger impact if it had been about 20 minutes shorter.