We recently watched Wild, and I had some seriously mixed emotions. As a movie on the whole, I wasn’t completely in love with it, to be honest. The acting was good, but the story arc seemed to be missing chunks of explanations, and while I know it’s based on true memoirs, I couldn’t help but feel like it was a little boring at times—lots of dramatic tension (which I’ll get into in a minute), but no actual climactic moment. I admit I like a little more action in my movies. That said, it made me really want to go on an epic hike at some point.
What I did truly love about it was actually the same dramatic tension that as a movie-watcher, I didn’t care for. All of the tense scenes were when Cheryl Strayed (played by Reese Witherspoon) was confronted with men along the trail and the tension levels rose as she was clearly waiting to see if they had ill intentions towards her. Most of the time, at the outset, the men seemed sketchy/scary/aggressive (and in at least one case, spoiler alert, a guy certainly crosses acceptable social behavior lines). But while nothing actually bad happens—she’s never assaulted on the trail—and she does meet a bunch of great guys who are incredibly helpful and kind (and a few really sketchy ones), it illustrates a great point.
When you’re a woman alone in the wild, every man is a potential predator. At least, that’s how I’ve always felt. Every time I ride or run on a trail solo, there’s always a low level of tension, especially when I’m in a more remote area. When I do see another person on the trail, if it’s a male, I’m sorry to say, but I’m nervous. I’ve thankfully never had a problem while hiking or riding solo (knock on wood), but the fear is very real, and I’m willing to bet plenty of women feel the exact same way.
So in that way, I think Wild really is a great movie—it shows the men watching in the audience how their (well-intentioned or not) actions are perceived by a woman on her own. Hopefully the men watching learn something about interaction with women on the trail, and for women, I think it serves as a lesson that you do have to be alert and keep your guard up, but that you can’t let fear paralyze you from doing what you want to do.
Have any of you see Wild? What did you think? And for the men and women out there: do you ever think about your personal safety (regarding other people, not animals/crashes) when outside alone?