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Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée

USA, 2014

Cornerhouse, 18 January 2015


There is an unexpected edge to this Nick Hornby-scripted chick flick; you’re aware, pretty much always, of the predatory male gaze.  Of how precarious it is to be a woman in this world.

Once Cheryl (Reese Witherspoon) takes to the Pacific Crest Trail, a young woman in the wild alone, she begins to reflect on her past life: the love her mother gave her, all those false steps and fruitful mistakes.  Music and poetry is important to her, helping to keep the connection with her mother alive.

A happy ending, but you don’t begrudge Cheryl, or the film itself, that: it is a happiness that has been well and truly earned along the way. She’s paid for it in bruises and blood.

I liked this film much more than I thought I would.