'Wild' trailer: Reese Witherspoon blazes a trail toward redemption

Reese Witherspoon is on the long road to redemption in the first trailer for 'Wild'
Reese Witherspoon could be back in the Oscar conversation with 'Wild," which released its first trailer

Reese Witherspoon is roughing it on the road less traveled in the first trailer for "Wild," an adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's bestselling 2012 memoir about her 1,1000-mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail.

"Wild," directed by Jean-Marc Vallee, who helmed the Oscar-winning AIDS drama "Dallas Buyers Club," and adapted by Nick Hornby ("An Education"), stars Witherspoon as Strayed, who at age 26 set out on her trek after the dissolution of her marriage and the death of her mother.

Witherspoon, 38, has not attracted the kind of attention in recent years that she did when she won an Oscar for "Walk the Line" in 2006, but "Wild" could change that. The trailer finds her enduring not only the physical hardships of her journey but also a crumbling personal life marked by reckless drug use and promiscuous sex.

Given the nature of the story, Witherspoon can be expected to shoulder the burden of the movie's acting load, much in the way of James Franco in "127 Hours," Robert Redford in "All Is Lost" and Sandra Bullock in "Gravity."

With regard to Hornby and Vallee, it will be interesting to see how they've handled the challenge of translating a highly personal, interior story to the cinematic medium. The trailer features a fair amount of Witherspoon voice-over, a technique that can work in measured doses but can feel like a crutch when overused.

And as with any beloved book, there also is the question of how passionate readers will respond to the translation to screen. Strayed fans may take comfort, at least, in the fact that the author was heavily involved with the production, much of which took place on the famous hiking trail.

Fox Searchlight will release "Wild" on Dec. 5.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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