Media Maven: “Into The Wild”

Media Maven: “Into The Wild”

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Into The Wild
Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Jena Malone, Hal Holbrook, Brian Dierker, Catherine Keener, Kristen Stewart


If you have the time and like movies that stay with you long after they’re over, then “Into the Wild” is the one to take time out of your busy schedule to see. Clocking in at over two hours, this movie features epic vistas and natural beauty as it was filmed on location in Alaska.

“Into the Wild” is a movie based on a book of the same name. It is the true story of a young man, Christopher McCandless, who, after graduating from college, chucks it all to pursue the true meaning of life. Emile Hirsch masterfully brings this character to the screen.

Living purely from the substance of the land, the unsolicited kindness of others and his own disciplined resources, McCandless aspires to experience life in the wilds free from the bondage of commercialism. While pursuing this quest, he manages to endear himself to strangers while cutting all ties with his family. When he leaves them, it is with a clear plan to embark on his independence – thereby forsaking all ties to his devoted younger sister and to the contemptuous state of his parents’ marriage.

Marcia Gay Harden and William Hurt show the disillusionment and pain of parents grieving a child that has left them with no closure. Catherine Keener’s character as half of a free-spirited couple who travels along the Southwest is relevant in asking young McCandless if his parents know where he is. She shares the story of her son who abandoned their life together.

Sean Penn directed and wrote the screenplay for this movie. In an interview in TIME Magazine Sept. 21, Penn admits this film asks the question, “Is Christopher a truth seeker, a defiant brat or some unknowable other?” Penn reserves judgment, preferring to let the audience decide for themselves.

It is in Penn’s capable direction and the fine-tuned performances of the other actors that compel us to wonder if McCandless is a person of great insight or merely an idealistic young man who teetered on the tightrope of brilliance and/or psychotic idealism?

No matter what the outcome, “Into the Wild” is a trip worth taking!


Rating: Five Chic Stars

Jan’s Movie Rating System:
5 – Top notch entertainment
4 – Compelling, Heartwarming, Thrilling, Comical
3 – The a) story b) actors c) special effects saved/made this movie.
2 – If you are bored watch it, or wait for DVD
1 – Don’t bother. Too morose, too violent, too blasé, an enigma.