I have been eagerly awaiting the release of Wild for months now. I read the book two years ago after I finished hiking the Appalachian Trail, and I was absolutely thrilled when I found out there would be a movie. I had to wait for the movie to be released in my city, and this past weekend there was only one theater in all of Denver playing it. I drove to Esquire Theater to find a line out the door of mostly women waiting to buy their tickets to Wild. I hadn’t seen that many ladies wearing puffy jackets in one place since the last time I went to an REI garage sale.
What did I think overall of Wild?
The movie accurately depicts long-distance hiking. It opens with a scene of Cheryl ripping a toenail off; her too tight boots have completely wrecked her feet. She signs trail registers the whole way with quotes from her favorite authors. Her circa 90’s gear is actual real backpacking gear. Her gigantic pack reminded me of my first backpacking trip when I had far more gear than I needed. There are funny yet annoying aspects of trail life shown: her tent catches in the wind while she’s trying to set it up, and she struggles trying to use her WhisperLite stove (seriously though, I HATE WhisperLites). There were just so many scenes where I found myself nodding along, like, “I feel ya, girl.”
It shows what it’s like to be a woman traveling solo. There are lots of aspects of traveling solo as a lady that are great: it’s easy to hitch-hike, you often get free snacks, people welcome you into their homes, and people seem to remember your name. There’s also aspects that suck: you have to be weary of people who do pick you up while hitch-hiking, a free donut often comes with a comment about your appearance, and sometimes you have to fear for your well-being. One particularly frightening scene was when there were two hunters making crude comments toward Cheryl, then one secretly stuck around behind a tree to watch her change her clothes.
It’s not a thru-hiking documentary. While I’ve watched plenty of thru-hiking documentaries, I have to say that most of them are not that interesting. Watching someone hike is not really exciting. This is more of a story about Cheryl. We see all of the things that led her to the PCT. Her struggles on the trail are coupled with the struggles of her personal life. We see all of her flaws that make her a real human being. We watch her hit rock bottom and then, like her mom wanted, find her best self.
I have heard other hikers say that there’s going to be a crowd of newbie Wild fans on the trail next year. Well, I will be on the PCT next year, and I look forward to seeing an influx in female hikers. I think it’s great if someone can see a bit of themselves in Cheryl and in turn find the inspiration to do a long distance hike.
Find out where Wild is playing near you: http://theaters.howwilditwas.com/
Book and Soundtrack Giveaway!!!
Leave your email address in the comments to enter to win a free copy of the book and a soundtrack (sorry, it’s only open to U.S. mailing addresses). I’ll send you an email if you win!
***Update: The giveaway is closed and we have a winner. Congrats to Maggie!!!
I haven’t had the chance to read or watch the movie as of yet,, this would be great to own, I’ve heard so much about this movie.
7125 n. Kellogg st. Portland Or. 97203
Can’t wait to see it!
Why the heck are the rest of the theaters not playing wild?! I love the positive review and positivity regarding possible wild fans hiking now. My mom and I read it together and now she’s starting to tag along on my hikes! I think it’s great that the book is encouraging more people to get outside
Great book. I just finished it. Waiting for the movie to release in my area.
AH thank you so much for this giveaway! I also have been DYING for this movie to come out (I adored the book) but haven’t gotten a chance to see it yet!
I’m anxiously awaiting for this movie to come to my city. I’ll have to finish reading this post after I see the movie 🙂
Cool! I’m super excited to see the movie too. email@example.com
Can’t wait for the movie to come to Indy! Thanks for the awesome blog — you are my trail hero!!!
I can’t wait to see this movie! I am hiking the AT this coming March, and this book is definitely on my Christmas wishlist. Love you blog, it has given me so much inspiration to do this as a solo girl!
I may be double commenting — but i’ll take my chances since i dont see it. : )
I am starting a thru-hike of the AT come March and cannot wait to see this movie, the book is on my Christmas wishlist too! Thanks for your blog, it has definitely been helping with my questions and giving me inspiration!!
I loved the book and would love to regift this to someone for Christmas.
So excited to see this! Doesn’t come to WV till Dec.19th!
I’ve been patiently waiting to see Wild as well! It doesn’t hit WV till Dec.19th!
Going to see it today! I can’t wait! Great post 🙂
I’m currently reading a copy of the book I checked out from the library, the movie is finally making it’s way to Kentucky on the 19th, so I’m hoping to finish the book up in time to check it out this weekend. Your review has me even more excited to see it!
you’re SO cool 🙂
Wild doesn’t open in Minnesota until 19Dec, but I will definitely be in line to see it when it does. And although I think I am somewhat concerned with a surge of new interest in long distance backpacking as a result of the film (Americans are totally great at reacting), I hope it is not long lasting or the cause of further degradation of our trails.
I’m so happy it doesn’t suck! I enjoyed the book and I’m looking forward to seeing the movie too.
I hope I win a free copy. Thank you for the contest.
Anna Brown firstname.lastname@example.org
Can’t wait to see the movie 🙂
How cool! Thank you! 🙂
I’m looking forward to seeing Wild! I read the book about a year and a half ago and I loved reading about the PCT! Thanks for doing this giveaway! email@example.com
Thank you for your insight and reviews Megan.
My wife and I enjoy your posts as we plan our future thru hike adventure.
Thanks for the review!
Really looking forward to this one!!!
It won’t be playing at all in the theaters closest to me. Can you believe that?! But I’m determined to see it now that I’ve read your review!
Cant wait to see this. So excited! 🙂
looks like a great movie
dlatany at gmail dot com
Eeek. I hope I’m not too late. I am looking forward to seeing the movie this weekend. Thanks for the review, megan. A lot better review than most thru-hikers.
the book was really moving (for me and at least a couple friends) so now i’m patiently waiting to see the movie firstname.lastname@example.org
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I have been planning on walking the AT for 10 years…goal is to section hike and complete before 50…I have 7 years!!!!
I really enjoyed the book and they did a great job with the movie!
Wild movie giveaway
I want to win!