Emile Hirsch, Jena Malone, Catherine Keener
Rainey: Well, my friend, all is not well on the hippie front.
After graduating college, a young man leaves behind all of his money and possessions, as well as his identity, and strikes out across the country. His ultimate goal is to find adventure and purpose in Alaska.
This is a movie based on true events, though how loosely based I’m not sure. Either way, the basic story is powerful enough to make a moving film. It’s also a beautiful movie to look at, as he goes from rivers to deserts to wheat fields and finally to Alaska.
It was an interesting movie to watch because I found that a lot of the thoughts, and issues, I had regarding the main character, Chris (Hirsch), would later be addressed by the movie. To me that’s a sign of intelligent writing. For instance, I was surprised at how vilified Chris’ parents were at times, and it seemed like the movie was basically blaming them for his ultimate fate. However, as the movie goes on, various characters point out to him that he’s being a bit unforgiving of them, he’s running away from the situation, and this journey he’s on – which is really all his doing – might not be a good idea. The parents can be blamed for creating a rough home life for Chris and his sister, but not for the decision he made to take this journey.
I thought that the way the movie showed Chris affecting everybody he came into contact with in some sort of significant way was a little heavy-handed. I’m sure he was a nice, charming guy, but he’s portrayed in an almost Jesus-like manner at times. Though, thankfully, one character does make a joke about this by asking Chris if he is, in fact, Jesus. Another example of the movie seeming to know what the audience would be thinking.
I have to admit, watching this movie does ignite strong feelings of wanderlust, though the ending might quickly quell most of those feelings. It serves as a warning not to get in over your head if you do choose to head out on an adventure. Though, I guess being in over your head makes it all the more adventurous…
10 – 1.5 for overdramatizing Chris’ affect on people’s lives – .4 for the Eddie Vedder songs (sorry, not a fan) – .2 for what I thought was a miscast Vince Vaughn = 7.9