Saturday, 15 December 2018

A road to salvation and Oscar success?

HOLLYWOOD is feverish with expectation as the awards season begins.

HOLLYWOOD is feverish with expectation as the awards season begins.

This year Reese Witherspoon will be among those actresses holding their breath when the envelope for best actress is opened at the Oscars.

The 38-year-old has been nominated for her leading role in Wild which opens in the UK this week.

The last, and only time, Witherspoon was nominated she walked away with the award for her portrayal of June Carter in Walk the Line.

Similarly, Wild tells the true story of Cheryl Strayed’s spiral into self-destruction following the death of her mother (Laura Dern) and the dissolution of her marriage. Director Jean-Marc Valleé adapted Strayed’s bestselling novel of the same name for the screenplay.

Determined to turn her life around and drag herself out of the “pity party”, Strayed embarks upon the challenge of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, an arduous trip which runs from the Mexican to the Canadian border; all this with little preparation for the emotional and physical road ahead.

Strayed’s journey to self-destruction, her drug addiction, promiscuity and abusive relationship with her father, are told in flashback as she begins the 1,100-mile trek back to peace of mind.

Nick Hornby’s screenplay avoids obvious sentimentality to give Witherspoon a gritty character, facing real challenges.

Witherspoon also produced the film which represents a return to more serious roles for the actress.

Judging by the award nominations it has received Wild is a welcome return to form for one of Hollywood’s best-loved actresses.

Film: Wild

Certificate: (15)

Director: Jean-Marc Valleé

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski

Beka Sharrock

• NT Encore at the Regal Picturehouse in Henley, features Treasure Island this week.

Broadcast live from the National Theatre on Monday, the production brings alive Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale of murder and mutiny on the high seas.

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