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Parents' Guide to


By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Emotional tale of self-discovery explores grief, addiction.

Movie R 2014 115 minutes
Wild Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 9 parent reviews

age 14+

A good message for teens girls with discussion

The sex and drug scenes ( 4 or 5 which are very short) can seem graphic. The message however - that even when you are at your lowest you must find and be your best self - is an important one. But if you can’t talk to your older teen -especially girls- about this and the importance of healthy relationships then don’t watch and wait until they are older.
age 16+

An Empowering Film Based on the Book About Cheryl Strayed's Trek

Wild directed by Jean-Marc Vallee helps show the amazing journey of Cheryl Strayed along the Pacific Crest Trail. What I liked about the film was how it helped visualize the book, though it didn't match it up fully. Some events from the book were glossed over or even skipped which made the film a little separate from the book. Reese Witherspoon definitely captures the essence of Cheryl Strayed and convincingly shows her struggles through drug and sex addiction. Many parents should note that Wild touches on strong topics that can be hard for kids. The film discusses about death and abuse in a family, specifically Cheryl's mother's struggle with abuse from her husband and cancer, as well as Cheryl's broken marriage, heroin addiction, and impulsive sex life. The film briefly shows glimpses of bare breasts and sex near the beginning of the film as well as a few times throughout. Shots of Cheryl and Joe (her boyfriend) shooting heroin and of them being high together. At around the 1hr 8min mark it seems to be the worst area of the film explicitly. I would skip past this part if your watching with younger teens, but its suitable for around 15, 16+. The film isn't that violent, only a little blood, blisters, bruises, and scabs. Cheryl throws up and we see it. A shot of Cheryl's scat is shown on camera as well. The amount of cursing is the amount typically expected in an R rated film. Though not as much of the book made it into the film as much as I had hoped, it was still effective. It's definitely a book that will create change and a very empowering film about the power of human spirit and determination. A definite watch for mature viewers!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (9 ):
Kids say (8 ):

Wild isn't a movie for anyone who hates stories of how hitting the road, climbing a mountain, or setting off for an adventure can lift the spirit and cleanse the soul. Because that's what this movie is about -- a woman with lots of emotional baggage who doesn't know a thing about serious trekking but manages to go from greenhorn to seasoned queen of the PCT. Witherspoon isn't really known as a gritty actress, so many worried that she'd be miscast as Cheryl (at least the Cheryl in flashbacks who has casual hook-ups and shoots up drugs), but it's clear she was all in for this performance, baring her body and giving every scene her best. Witherspoon humanizes a character who, on the page, can seem overwhelmingly selfish and unlikable. On screen, Witherspoon's nuanced portrayal is touching, especially when she shares scenes with Dern, who's only nine years older than Witherspoon but convincingly plays her young survivor of a mother. Dern's performance is heartbreakingly beautiful (just like in The Fault in Her Stars). Bobbi is what makes viewers believe that Cheryl has the power to be extraordinary.

In addition to the acting, the movie benefits from gorgeous visuals of the PCT, with sweeping vistas that will make even those who avoid going outdoors understand how experiencing nature on your own can and will change you forever. Director Jean-Marc Vallee doesn't shy away from the harsh obstacles Cheryl must overcome, physically and emotionally; by the end of the movie, you still may not love her, but you can't help believing in her power to rise out of the darkness and into the light.

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