Inspired by an article that I read in a magazine, I was collecting the pictures I like to form a scrapbook and know myself better. One fine day, while going through the pages of the telegraph, I saw the picture of Reese Witherspoon carrying a backpack and there was an intriguing headline with it. I was immediately determined to watch it. The movie is about the journey of Reese through the Pacific trail. Haunted by a painful past, she goes on destroying herself and her life and the movie is about the healing on nature and adventure above any psychotherapy and self help.
Starring: , Laura Dern,, Reese Witherspoon
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Genre(s): Biography, Drama
Runtime: 115 min
Home Release Date: Mar 31, 2015
The movie is about redemption and reinvention. Reese Witherspoon plays the role of Cheryl Strayed, a heroin addict and someone who has just destroyed her marriage and haunted by the painful memories of her mother. Her mother Bobby, portrayed by Laura Dern married an alcoholic abusive person who was a very violent man leaving scars on her mother’s body and daughter’s heart forever.
My favourite scene is where her mother keeps singing and insisting on looking at the brighter side of the life and being happy, and Cheryl screams at her. Her mother, with tears in her eyes tells us that she doesn’t regret marrying an abusive alcoholic man because she got Cheryl, which is the most beautiful thing in her life. After her mother died and she ruins her marriage, she decides to go on a dangerous and challenging trail and decides to walk through it and be the woman her mother wanted her to be. Adventure and hardships don’t just clean our mind, they reform our heart and soul. The things that break is, in reality, give us an opportunity to be reformed as someone better and brighter.
Both Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern received Academy Award nominations for their performances, in the categories of Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. Despite of having no trekking experience, she decides to go on a path of rediscovery and trouble. During the hike, amidst the Virgin dangerous paths, she keeps getting familiar falshbacks from her past. Her marriage wasn’t destroyed by a lack of love, but her repeated cheating on her husband. No, no there’s no love triangle here, Cheryl is addicted to anonymous sex, maybe because she is so much tormented by her past and abusive behavior of her father that she is not able to consider men any more useful than for sex, and not just others, she doesn’t even consider herself worthy or respectable. According to psychology, our life and our behavior, the better parts of our personality gets formed during our childhood and when the relationships that are closest to us make us feel worthless, no outer motivation or beauty can provide us with a sense of self belief. Cheryl loves her husband and he loves her too, but she is somehow unable to get over her painful past. I wonder how many people out there can connect to it.
The past haunted her so bad that when she gets pregnant, instead of acknowledging it or being happy about it, she aborts the child and decides to hook up with the trail. Even though, Cheryl is walking alone, she is carrying with herself all the grudges, depression and baggage of the pain and past. As the journey begins, Cheryl stuffs her backpack with a lot of things just like her head and instead of removing the unnecessary things, she uses all her might and strength to carry it up just like her emotional baggage. Her back gets sore, feet get worn out and on the journey she even loses her boots. While the necessary things are being sent to her by her best friend, she does a lot by herself too. In one way it’s about women empowerment, and emphasizing the essence of adventures and treks in our lives. All through the journey, she meets people, some of who are kind, some intrigued, some impressed by a woman embarking such a tough journey alone. Cheryl is trying to eliminate her outer as well as inner ugliness as well as her inclination to pain. Though this seems contradictory, but the people with history of childhood abuse are very much inclined towards dangerous and challenging activities, this has been proved by psychology.
The movie has been rated R due to the constant use of abusive words, blisters and the sexual scenes, but I believe it’s going to help a lot of people out there who can connect with the pain she’s facing. Being alone in an adventurous trail encourages free thoughts and though it’s full of suffering, noone can deny that it’s suffering that builds character.