Gina’s Review: Wild (movie review)

directed by Jean-Marc Vallée
premiered December 19, 2014

find the movie here: (affiliate links) IMDBBarnes & Noble (Blu-Ray link), Amazon (prime movie link), Amazon (Blu-Ray/DVD link)

Did I enjoy this movie adaption: I have to say I really enjoyed the movie. I had heard nothing but wonderful things about both the movie itself and Reese Witherspoon’s portrayal of Cheryl, and people had every right to say those wonderful things. Witherspoon does a wonderful job showing the emotions Cheryl wrote. I think it must be hard to portray a real person, but this is a believable performance. I’d also like to give an honorary mention to Laura Dern for her amazing performance as Cheryl’s mother. Seriously, she is exactly as I pictured and I CRIED. That woman truly knows what she’s doing.

The only real thing I missed in the film that was in the book was some of the relationships Cheryl formed while on the trail with the male hikers. She became friends with these men in the book and they became a part of her journey. I know the director probably wanted this to be focused on Cheryl, but I just thought that some of the scenes with the male hikers fell flat.

I did appreciate seeing the Bob Marley shirt, however. It was such a meaningful piece of clothing in the book, but again I was disappointed that we didn’t get to meet the man who gave it to her. However, having read the book I’m glad that we at least get to see Cheryl wearing it.

Overall, I loved this film. My husband, whom I didn’t even have to beg to watch it, even liked it. He’s done some backpacking in his time and related a lot to the backpacking and hiking part of the film. I don’t think this is a good date movie, though. I think you’d have to be genuinely interested in the content to enjoy this film, and although I loved it, I think the book is better.



Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

written by Cheryl Strayed
published by Knopf, 2012

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads

You can read Gina’s 4-star review here.


At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State — and she would do it alone.

Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.



Gina’s Review: The Maze Runner (movie review)


The Maze Runner MovieThe Maze Runner
directed by Wes Ball
premiered September 2014

find the movie here: (affiliate links) IMDBBarnes & Noble, Barnes & Noble (Blu-Ray/DVD link), Amazon (prime movie link), Amazon (Blu-Ray/DVD link)

Did I enjoy this movie adaption: I wasn’t a huge fan of The Maze Runner by James Dashner. The second novel in the trilogy, The Scorch Trials, is a stronger story, and I have yet to read the third book. The fact is I really wanted the characters in the book to come alive in the film. Wes Ball is the director of The Maze Runner film, and although I am not familiar with him, I think he did a good job. The movie is entertaining but definitely not perfect.

The film rushes the story line, which in some ways is good but in other ways not so much. I wish they would have taken time to explain the situation a bit better and allow for some more character development. Thomas didn’t have enough time to show us why he is one of the main characters, and we definitely didn’t see enough of Teresa to even care that she was there. In the books, she and Thomas are special and stand out; while in the film, they are awkward and don’t have much of a connection at all.

I also didn’t like the way Ball changed some of the personalities of the characters. The book portrays Alby as a guy who is hard to get to know; he’s cautious and untrusting at first, but he’s the opposite in the film, which was just simply okay. On the flip side, I’m just glad Ball didn’t change Gally’s personality. Will Poulter’s performance stands out in the film. He plays Gally well,  and I actually wanted to punch him in the face a few times (which I think is the perfect compliment for someone playing an unlikeable character).


The movie gets three out of five stars, and I am sorry to say that the book wins out.

Would I recommend it: The film wasn’t an overall failure for me. I had friends that were disappointed and hated the film. I think if you read the book first you have to keep an open mind. I definitely think I would recommend this movie to people who liked The Hunger Games and Divergent.



The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)

 The Maze Runner
written by James Dashner
published by Delacorte Press, 2009

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

See Gina’s 3.5-star review here

About the book – from Goodreads: 

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.