A young college graduate gives away most of his possessions and heads off... Into the Wild. Intriguing premise for a story! And yet, based on a true story. I read an article or condensed version of this book a while ago and when I saw the movie previews, I definitely put it on my must-see list.
Emile Hirsch plays a very convincing Christopher McCandless, the honor student who longs for a more honest and itinerant lifestyle. His parents, played by Marcia Gay Harden and William Hurt, don't know about his exodus at first, and when they find out, they don't understand it. McCandless renames himself Alexander Supertramp and spends two years hitchhiking and working his way across the US and Canada, always keeping his final destination of Alaska at the front of his thoughts and words.
Gorgeous scenery abounds in the film. McCandless visits some very beautiful places and meets many interesting people. He keeps a journal, which figures prominently in the story. An actress playing his sister narrates the film, which I found rather distracting. The story jumps back and forth which I also found distracting.
This movie is rated R but I do recommend the story for older teens and adults. Please note there is some nudity, presented in a realistic, not gratuitous, manner. There is also violence and profanity, as well as drug and alcohol usage. However, all these things are presented in the course of the story and are necessary to its telling. This is not an innocent story, but it is an important one. The relationship between Chris and his parents was disturbing and I feel like this was a motivating factor in his decision to leave the world behind. A cautionary tale for parents, certainly.
This is a thought-provoking and poignant story of a passionate young man who found the trappings of modern society to be pointless. He longed for something more and hoped he would find it in Alaska.
A couple final notes:
Emile Hirsch also starred in Speed Racer (which I still have not seen).
Kristin Stewart, who will play Bella in the upcoming Twilight, plays a young girl interested in Chris romantically
Screenit.com review (I highly recommend checking this out before showing it to teens of any age.)