Alternative Film Blog

The film that I focused on for this blog post is Wild, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and released in 2014. This was a successful film as it received a 90% rating according to Rotten Tomato and a 7.1/10-star rating on IMDb.

I personally chose this film because it is one of my all-time favorite movies (of course the book is even better). I find it truly inspiring that this woman had the guts to go on this insanely long hike on the Pacific Crest Trail to find herself. I aspire to do something as daring as her one day. I also chose this film because I believe it was very well done.

The screenplay for this movie was written by Nick Hornby. Hornby went off of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, Wild. I have also read the book and the screenplay that was written for this film is almost identical to the writing in the book. Hornby does a nice job portraying Cheryl as the independent, self-reliant, intelligent and vulgar woman that she is through his screenplay. For example, in the book Cheryl curses a lot and in the movie, she does as well. A common camera shot that is seen within this film are shots where it is zoomed out from Cheryl hiking and the landscape and other individuals can be seen. I enjoy these camera shots because you can see the main actor, Cheryl is interacting with others and the vast wilderness around her.

Throughout the film, Cheryl has several flashbacks to painful memories of her mother. The director uses an abrupt jump cut change to flash back to these memories. Sound overs are also used by the director to transition back in forth between new scenes and flashback memories.

An actor in this film that does not play the main character is W. Earl Brown who plays Frank. This actor contributed his talents by playing a farmer who appears to be a dangerous man that Cheryl shouldn’t be accepting a ride, dinner and a place to stay for the night on her hike. Cheryl then learns that Frank is harmless and is just another kind individual offering her help and support on her trek. W. Earl Brown plays this character flawlessly and it really contributes to the film and showing that you should not judge an individual by their appearance and people really aren’t all that bad most of the time, two important lessons Cheryl learns on her journey.

There are several characteristic sounds that are made in this movie that were created by Foley sounds. For example, there are several occurrences when you can hear the crunching of the ground beneath Cheryl’s feet as she’s hiking through different terrain (snow, leaves, dirt and rock). The original motion picture soundtrack for this movie is composed of twenty-seven different songs. These songs were not all created specifically for this film. For example, the song Red River valley, performed by Evan O’toole was a song that was written specifically for this film. An example of a song that was not written specifically for this film is Tougher Than the Rest, performed by Bruce Springsteen. This was also a song that was added to the film.

One of the settings in this film is of Cheryl throwing her boot off the face of mountain because her other one fell off and tumbled down the mountain. My reaction to this setting was a realization of how alone she actually was out in the wilderness and how alone she actually was. Several negative and traumatizing flashback memories can be seen in this setting as well. This was Cheryl’s breaking point in the film.

Throughout the film, Cheryl’s costumes and makeup depict her as being “beat up” from the hike. She is depicted as being dirty, bruised, scratched and messy. Her clothes are also baggy, torn and dirty. These details add to the film and making the viewer believe that this actress is truly on this long trek on the Pacific Crest Trail.


Works Cited

IMDb. “Wild (2014) – IMDb.”

IMDb. “Wild (2014) – Soundtracks – IMDb.”

Rotten Tomatoes. “Wild (2014) – Rotten Tomatoes.”


4 thoughts on “Alternative Film Blog

  1. Nice post! Although I have never watched this movie before, your detailed descriptions make me feel as tough I had! Just like your description of her “breaking point” where she throws her boot at the mountain side and her other one falls down the hill, gives the viewer a feeling of total frustration and the feeling of being completley alone where no one can help you when you are in a desperate situation. I feel the personal growth due to her internal and external struggles, which seems to be the crux of the story. I did have one question regarding how the sound was made when she was walking on the dirt, snow, leaves, and rock: How did they make the sound? Did they just record her doing those things or did they crumple up some paper or something to portray that sound? I liked your references but unfortunately, they didn’t open onto another page for me. Sounds like a great movie!


  2. You gave a very good and comprehensive overview of this movie, unfortunately I probably wouldn’t find much interest in the movie’s story as I can’t seem to ever get into those “finding yourself” journeys into the wild. It always seems a bit over the top for me, however after saying that I have to admit the movie poster looks really beautiful and reading your review makes me want to give the movie a chance. Especially the note that Cheryl is vulgar and swears a lot, really gets me interested in how she interacts with that Frank character and the possible danger he presented (at first).


  3. I love the picture that you used for your blog from the film. I haven’t watched the film but after reading your blog and following the first link you provided that allowed me to watch the trailer it looks like an interesting story of a woman’s struggle to deal or process tragedies from her life experiences on a long and dangerous hike. The picture is intriguing because it shows the beauty but also the vastness of the space and she appears to be all alone with her thoughts and experiences. In going to the links you provided in youtube there was an interview with Cheryl Strayed, the woman who wrote the book that the film was based on.

    When she was asked what life lessons she learned through her experience on the trail, she said she learned that the wild like life is a punishing place where you survive by taking one step at a time and that you have to surrender to it but also even in the most challenging times you are always surrounded by beauty if you just take the time to look around you.

    The making of this film had to be interesting because they used nature as a character in the film. The following youtube video gives great information on the making of the film:

    Great pick and I plan to watch this the next time I purchase a dvd or when it comes to netflix : )


  4. I have watched this movie and actually really enjoyed it, I don’t generally take apart a film and can appreciate the way you laid it out. I would have had to watch it several times and try not to get distracted to be able to catch that much detail. I didn’t even know it was a book. Thank you for the review and insight. The book has also done really will with numerous awards as well as being a #1 New York Times Bestseller.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s