TIFF 2014: Reese Witherspoon Is 'Wild'

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In the opening seconds of Wild, another Oscar-bound film from director Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club), we see Reese Witherspoon, miles from civilization high atop a mountain on the Pacific Crest Trail. 

And then, she loses her shoes. In the next two hours, we learn how Cheryl Strayed, played by Witherspoon, got to that perilous mountaintop and, more importantly, how far she has to go.

Witherspoon gives the performance of her career in this film, based on Strayed's 2012 memoir, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.

"Honestly, the biggest burden that I felt in this film was to represent Cheryl," said Witherspoon, Strayed sitting a few feet away during a Toronto International Film Festival press conference prior to Monday night's screening.

Walking n the TIFF red carpet prior to the screening, Witherspoon said one line in the movie resonates deeply. Strayed, talking to another hiker on one of PCT's rare campsites says, "I'm lonelier in my real life than I am out here on the trail." 

"It's an incredible healing experience to be out, alone in the wild," Witherspoon told Boise Weekly. "And Cheryl sensed that possibility of healing, and this is her journey."

Wild is much more than another tale of people "getting lost to find themselves." It's an odyssey of the soul that sent Strayed on a 1,000-mile, 90-plus day hike in the wilderness. Wild is also the perfect vehicle for an actress at the top of her game. She's a lock for a Best Actress nod.