Woman confronts the wilderness - and troubled past

December 12, 2014 12:13 AM

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"Wild" has so many things in its favor that it's tempting to leave out that it's a movie about a hike that sometimes feels like being on a hike, a long one, without many changes of scenery. But the movie's achievement is that it overcomes this. The filmmakers take a potentially plodding, numbing situation and, scene by scene, struggle and succeed in keeping the action alive, one step at a time.

Reese Witherspoon owns this film as few actors ever do. As Cheryl Strayed, a woman who breaks with her own past by hiking 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, Witherspoon is at the center of every scene, with much of the action taking place in her mind, in the form of flashbacks. For Cheryl, the ...

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