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Published January 23rd 2015
A decision to hike, inexperienced & solo might save her life
Jumping from one bad decision to another was Cheryl Strayed's way of coping with certain aspects of her life and she encounters demons when she decides to walk the 1100 mile Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) solo.
This is a sometimes harrowing story of a young woman who has endured personal tragedies including the destruction of her marriage. Her life is spiralling out of control until she makes a rash decision to walk a long trek with zero hiking experience, a pack which is bigger than herself and no idea why she is setting out in the first place.
The movie is an experience for the viewer as you are tugged along by the journey of real-life writer of the book on which the movie is based.
With no training before the movie, Reece Witherspoon was asked to walk in Cheryl's footsteps literally and figuratively as a novice backpacker hiking across difficult and often treacherous terrain. Witherspoon's performance is flawlessly fractured and a huge step away from her usual romantic comedy roles.
The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and director Jean-Marc Vallée has captured the beauty of the PCT, which runs from the Mojave Desert in California to Washington State, while inter splicing the calm with action flashbacks which percolate to the surface of Cheryl's subconscious.
The sincerity of a clearly well-written female protagonist can be hard to find in a film but perhaps this particular lead is so believable due to the truth in her story.
Expect to go on the trail along with Cheryl as she takes a step towards understanding herself better and making amends for her shortcomings.