Talk about a real mixed bag of a movie. On the one hand, Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern are always compelling to watch. And Cheryl's perseverance in hiking 1,000 miles is pretty uplifting. However, as a movie, there's not a lot to this. Sure, it's got a smattering of flashbacks to build up the characters and beef up the story, but when the main thrust of your film is one person walking for a long (long) time, then, in order to not let your mind wander, you really need to make everything work. I have to really be compelled by the min character, and I really have to be visually stimulated. Both were serviceable. And for a movie that seems to be getting such good reviews, I needed great or spectacular.
Storywise, it's simply about a woman who hikes a thousand miles after the death of her mother. And this woman is a wreck - she uses hardcore drugs and cheats on her husband with just about any man who'll have her. And I'm never really sure why she thinks she needs to do this hike, and I don't think she knows, either. But she carries a backpack that other hikers call "monster," meets some nice people and some creepy ones, and trudges along (sorta like this review).
I left the theater thinking that I liked the movie, but didn't really love it. Now, even a few hours later, I'm finding that it has even less resonance to me. It's hard for me to think about how therapeutic it would be walk a thousand miles just to get one's head straight. I'm thinking more of an afternoon hike.
But if I've learned anything from this, it's that if you go on a long hike like that, make sure you're wearing the right shoes.