I loved Cheryl Strayed's memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail so much, I bought two extra hardback copies so I could give them away. I loved it so much that when I heard Reese Witherspon had optioned the film rights, I instantly thought, Oh no. Not because I am anti-Reese-Witherspoon, exactly (although I have to say, I got a real bitchy too-cool-for-school vibe from her in those elevator videos that were going around), but film adaptations of amazing books -- especially amazing books with so much internal dialogue -- don't always pan out.
Well, the first trailer for Wild has just been released, and you guys ... it looks GREAT. I realize I'm making the following prediction based on two minutes of footage, but not only am I officially retracting my cynicism about this film in general, I think Witherspoon has a very strong chance of nailing an Oscar for this role.
Wild has an extremely good pedigree going for it: it was directed by Dallas Buyers Club director Jean-Marc Vallee, and Nick Hornby wrote the script. Co-stars include Gaby Hoffmann, Laura Dern, Michiel Huisman, Charles Baker, Kevin Rankin, and Thomas Sadoski, but based on the trailer, this movie's going to be all about Reese.
If you haven't read the book, the general story is that Strayed heads out alone on a 1,000-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail after being overwhelmed with chaos in her personal life: her mom's death, her divorce, her spiral into drugs. It's a journey of self-discovery and making peace with inner demons, combined with the logistics of someone with little experience and zero preparation tackling such an ambitious (and occasionally treacherous) hike.
I haven't seen Witherspoon in a serious role in so long, I found it almost impossible to picture her bringing this story to life. But from what I've seen so far, I'm seriously impressed. Take a look:
I love what she says at the end: "What if I forgive myself? What if I was sorry, but if I could go back in time, I wouldn't do a single thing differently? What if all those things I did were the things that got me here?" Which is to say, I really really REALLY love Cheryl Strayed's writing (if you haven't read Tiny Beautiful Things, please run out and buy it right this instant), but I'm also on board with Witherspoon embodying the spirit of this book. Wild hits theaters on December 5, and I cannot wait to see it.
What did you think of this trailer? Have you read the book?
Image via Fox Searchlight