|Reese Witherspoon and her backpack Monster star in "Wild"|
“Wild” opens with a shot of gorgeous and serene, snow-capped mountains. We hear a woman gasping for air, breathing as if caught right in the middle of some pretty rigorous sex. This woman, as it turns out, is a hiker arduously laboring her way to a pretty stunning lookout. And it is here that we meet our heroine Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon). She removes her backpack called Monster (a rather appropriately named symbol for all the things in her life that weigh her down) from her sweat-drenched and filthy back, takes off her too-small boots, peels off her blood-soaked socks revealing her mangled and blistered feet. She picks and rips off a dead toenail, and in the process, somehow, knocks her shoe off the side of the mountain. In frustration, she hurls the other shoe, full force, into the abyss. She curses at the mountains, screaming her frustrations at the top of her lungs, and it’s this moment that we learn the defiant, grieving, willing-to-make-a-fool-of-herself nature of this woman. Very quickly after that moment, we then get these quick, successive clips: a fox, her mother, her as a girl, her life, the wild. They’re very snappy and colorful and expressive and perfectly capture everything that this film is. Then a quick cut to the title card. It’s a gorgeous introduction to a well-done film.