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Wild 2014

Critics score:
90 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Wesley Morris, Grantland: Unlike its female peers, it's not about rejuvenation at some person's or culture's expense. This land isn't her land. The journey itself gets to you, but so does what it stands for. The only way out of the woods is into them. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: Reese Witherspoon delivers her best performance since she won the Best Actress Oscar for 'Walk the Line' a decade ago. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: Fueled by the centrifugal force of Ms. Witherspoon's dynamic, award-worthy centerpiece performance, it's one of the year's most galvanizing cinematic experiences. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: Ms. Witherspoon carries the whole movie. And she does so with unflagging intensity and remarkable verve ... Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: "Wild" for the most part works just fine, and should serve as a terrific career boost for Reese Witherspoon, who's a producer of the film as well as its star. Read more

Justin Chang, Variety: A ruggedly beautiful and emotionally resonant saga of perseverance and self-discovery that represents a fine addition to the recent bumper crop of bigscreen survival stories. Read more

Mike D'Angelo, AV Club: In general, Wild's ratio of dramatic incident ... to "just existing in nature" is nicely judged. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: "Wild" meanders a bit, in its trips from present to past and back, but Witherspoon remains the constant, doing what sounds simple enough but proves so difficult: soldiering on. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: The movie gets much of the book and has the added benefit of scenery - lots of it, deserts and mountains and forests spreading out to the far horizons. Read more

Drew Hunt, Chicago Reader: A feel-good story that avoids sentimentality. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: Witherspoon does the least acting of her career, and it works. Calmly yet restlessly, she brings to life Strayed's longings, her states of grief and desire and her wary optimism. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: Witherspoon uses her own undoubted discomfort with the physical demands of the role to make us feel Strayed's predicament in our bones. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: Subliminal editing, seamless flashbacks and evocative musical cues make for a captivating trek that dances off the linear path, even as it marches doggedly ahead. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: Not since June Carter Cash in Walk the Line has Witherspoon been so present to a character. Her Cheryl is funny and messy, wounded but not without survival instincts. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: There's nothing particularly wild about "Wild," a forward-plodding story of redemption that follows Reese Witherspoon's determined march toward a best actress Oscar nomination. Read more

Robert Philpot, Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com: What the book communicates better than the movie is just how grueling the Pacific Coast Trail can be...But that's only a quibble. Like the book, the movie inspires wanderlust, whether the quest is for your body or your psyche. Read more

Tina Jordan, Entertainment Weekly: Vallee has taken a contemplative book where, frankly, very little happens and transformed it into a gut-punching drama. Read more

James Rocchi, Film.com: In a time when the desire for 'strong' female characters on-screen can often create perfect-but-plain parts for actresses to play, seeing a complicated female character on-screen here is even better. Read more

Stephen Farber, Hollywood Reporter: Vallee has crafted a vivid wilderness adventure film that is also a powerful story of family anguish and survival. Read more

Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times: Though there are occasional stumbles along the 1,100-mile hike, the peaks in "Wild" make the journey more than worth it. Read more

Connie Ogle, Miami Herald: Wild may sound like a film about redemption, but it's more about learning to live with what you can't control - and accepting what you can control, which is sometimes just as difficult. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: A rare on-the-road movie from a female point of view. Read more

Richard Brody, New Yorker: There's neither cinematic majesty to the vistas (and I saw the movie on a very big screen and sat very close to it) nor intimacy to the ground that Strayed treads. Read more

David Denby, New Yorker: "Wild" is about the renewal of self, but it's a film made without sanctimony or piety. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: It's a fine film, made with poetry and intelligence. Read more

Mark Jenkins, NPR: If Wild is an interesting trek, for both its star and its viewers, it's hardly a feral one. Read more

Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News: A biopic that is both visually engaging and emotionally compelling. But it's hard to shake the feeling of careful ambition that keeps everything moving forward so neatly. Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: What makes its heroine worth caring about - what makes her a rare and exciting presence in present-day American film - is not that she's tidy or sensible or even especially nice. It's that she's free. Read more

Jake Coyle, Associated Press: "Wild" is ultimately unique for its twist, even if it comes by an unfortunately intrusive narration. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: A moving (literally and figuratively) experience, a road movie where the road is a trail that sometimes disappears into the trees, or takes a turn onto a jagged precipice. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Wild attempts to show how getting back to basics can arrest the downward spiral of a life pulled out of orbit by the gravity of pernicious influences. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: With the help of a scrappy script by Nick Hornby that allows bursts of humor to break through the darkness, Witherspoon cuts to the bruised core of Cheryl's heart, rattling between desperation and determination. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com: "Wild" is a moving, engaging and deeply sincere story, set against some of the most magnificent scenery on the planet, and most of Strayed's fans should be reasonably content. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: This pensive, reflective, complicated Witherspoon feels more real than the one she left behind - and more in keeping with how she started, in hard-hitting independent movies 20 years ago. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: The story Wild cares about, and tells with admirable honesty and cinematic grace, has less to do with the out-of-doors than with the inside-of-head. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: What do you do when your heroine is tough but emotionally hurt, bright but glib, grown but immature? Make a film about her that is both painful and uplifting. Read more

Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Maybe the lack of answers is the point. How do you save your life by hiking 1,000 miles? By putting one foot in front of the other. Read more

David Sims, The Atlantic: It captures an emotional memoir without making it feel like a didactic tale of triumph over adversity. Read more

Geoff Pevere, Globe and Mail: It's a movie in which you can feel the spirit of the material infusing the filmmaker both as an artist and as a human being, and what results is that thing that occurs when even the simplest of songs sends sparks to the soul. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: Everybody has to come a distance to understand Strayed, not least of which is the lady herself, who discovers the simple truth of her marathon march: "How wild it was to let it be." Read more

Alonso Duralde, TheWrap: In less sensitive hands, Wild could have easily wound up being an Oprah's Book Club episode writ large, but Hornby, Vallee, Witherspoon and Dern lead the charge in taking the material to a higher elevation. Read more

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out: It'll take more than a Bob Marley T-shirt to sell us on the authenticity of this particular hiker, epiphany-bound though she may be. Read more

Liz Braun, Toronto Sun: Witherspoon et al have done justice to Strayed's story. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: Witherspoon is terrific - low-key and gritty as a woman who's lost her way and seeks to find it alone. Her voice-over narration is evocative, sometimes heartbreaking. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice: For the time being, Witherspoon - sometimes a wonderful actress and sometimes a maddening one - has found herself. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: Witherspoon's edginess makes her easy-and fun-to read; her face registers every bump on the path. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: "Wild" is an accomplished movie, and often a beautiful and moving one, but the woman at its center remains warily at arm's length. Read more