‘Wild’ Trailer: Reese Witherspoon, Heroin and the Great Outdoors

By  · Published on July 10th, 2014

Fox Searchlight

There comes a time in every woman’s life where she has to face a couple forks in the road. When her life is going completely to hell and there’s really nothing that can remedy the situation. Is this the time to give up and curl into the fetal position indefinitely? Or does she gather up a fat stack of Oprah magazines and take life by the steering wheel, setting forth some impossible self-help journey to cleanse her system of whatever’s bringing her down? Girlfriend, you know the answer.

The first trailer for Wild, the Nick Hornby-scripted adaptation of the wildly popular memoir by Cheryl Strayed, gets a few things clear straight off the bat. The source material for the film contains much darker depths than we’re used to seeing from the “find yourself” genre. One of the main reasons for Cheryl setting out on her journey is to cope with her former heroin addiction, and it’s clear from flashbacks peppered into the trailer that while the habit might be kicked, the emotional toll may still be present. It’s a stark contrast to Eat, Pray Love, where Elizabeth was dissatisfied with a mostly okay life and went on an extended vacation to canoodle with handsome dudes, or even something like How Stella Got Her Groove Back, where Stella … gets her groove back … directly via Taye Diggs on vacation.

The other point is that Reese Witherspoon’s hair after weeks on the Pacific Crest is much better than mine looks after sitting at a desk writing all day.

The trailer makes the film, which is the first from director Jean-Marc Vallee since his Oscar-winning Dallas Buyers Club, look like a heartbreaker. Cheryl is distraught after the death of her mother at the age of 22 and turns to drugs and self-destruction to cope with the loss. Her behavior then leads to the ruin of her marriage, ending in divorce. At 26, she sets out on a trip to see if the journey will help her recover any part of herself that she’s lost, a hike through the 1,100 mile Pacific Crest Trail, which stretches from the Mojave Desert through California and up through Oregon to the Washington State border, alone.

Through a montage of Witherspoon sobbing in the desert, examining blisters on her toes and struggling to keep shuffling along through the dirt, we see that Cheryl definitely did not have it easy out there. And it’s not just physical limitations that are making her struggle, as the film will be cut with flashbacks to her former life (pre-hiking), where she’s using heroin, fighting with her husband and speaking with her beloved mom. Cue the crying.

It’s almost 127 Hours-esque in the sense of the solo journey through an isolated wilderness, added with the flashbacks – minus the huge tragedy pinning her to a boulder somewhere between NorCal and Portland. Although, a trailer’s only a couple minutes long … maybe they left something out?

Wild opens in theaters December 5th.