12 Movies Like Wild

Reese Witherspoon attended the premiere for her movie Wild.

“I was amazed that what I needed to survive could be carried on my back. And, most surprising of all, that I could carry it.”

-Cheryl Strayed (Wild)-

The following list of movies is like the movie Wild, containing stories of journeys of self-discovery, reflection, forgiveness, and personal growth:

  • Tracks
  • Into The Wild
  • Beasts Of The Southern Wild
  • Eat Pray Love
  • 127 Hours
  • Frances Ha
  • Maidentrip
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • The Good Lie
  • All Is Lost
  • Cast Away
  • Precious

Wild is a movie about a woman who has lost herself in all realms of her being: spiritually, emotionally, and physically. To find herself, she decides to lose herself by taking an uncertain journey into the wild. The movies listed above each touch on a journey that the actors had to undertake to survive.

1. Tracks (2013)

Tracks

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Director: John Curran

Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Adam Driver, Lily Pearl, Philip Dodd, Fiona Press, Daisy Walkabout, and Rainer Bock

The Plot

A young Brisbane woman, Robyn Davidson, plans to travel from Alice Springs to Ayers rock, across the harsh desert of Western Australia, with the ocean as her end destination. She has no other goal than to find herself during this journey of self-discovery.

First, she will need to purchase or earn a couple of camels, to join her dog Diggity and herself on the planned trip. She offers to exchange several months of her time for two camels when she meets local farmer Kurt Posel. He teaches her to work with camels and handle them before he fires her because of a domestic dispute.

After this significant setback, she finds a house shell in the middle of the bush that serves as a part-time home. Robyn then works for a camel wrangler, Sallay Mahomet, at half pay and one feral camel. The locals call her the “camel lady.”

After her friends come around for a surprise visit, she is introduced to awkward photographer Rick Sloman. After informing her friends and Rick of her plans to trek 1,700 miles across the desert, they are shocked. Rick gives her the contact details of National Geographic, and she writes to them in search of some sponsorship.

National Geographic agrees to sponsor her on the condition that Rick meets up with her frequently and photographs her journey. She manages to obtain three more camels, and after saying her goodbyes, she starts her journey into the unknown.

What will she discover in the desert? What will she discover about herself? A better question is will she like what she finds?

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2. Into The Wild (2007)

Into the Wild

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Director: Sean Penn

Cast: Emile Hirsch, Vince Vaughn, Catherine Keener, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Jena Malone, Kristen Stewart, and Zach Galifianakis

The Plot

Christopher McCandless obtained his undergraduate degree from Emory in the spring of 1990. His wealthy parents, Walt McCandless and Billie McCandless, and his sister Carine McCandless are attending the ceremony. The parents are so happy with his achievements, they offer him a new car, which Christopher declines.

Christopher informs them that he wants to go to Harvard to study Law, after receiving excellent grades in classes focusing on global consciousness. Life is progressing according to plan for the McCandless family, or so it seems.

When summer arrives, the family discovers that Christopher is not going to Harvard. He has moved from his apartment in Atlanta without communicating with them, and he has instructed the post office to hold onto his mail before returning it to the sender.  It seems that he wanted a head start on whatever he was planning.

Christopher’s old Datsun is discovered in the Arizona desert, and police quickly rule out the possible abduction of Christopher, informing the family that it looks premeditated. His sister, Carine, believes she knows why Christopher has taken this alternative life decision.

He wants to escape the Western Society as an act of rebellion, and the what-society-expects-of-you motto to life, his parents being soulfully unhappy with life and each other, but still staying together as society demands this façade.

Christopher’s mission is clear: He wants to live off the land as his new moniker, “a child of the earth,” stipulates. Join newly christened “Alexander Supertramp” on his mission to survive on his own, away from the society he despises.

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3. Beasts Of The Southern Wild (2012)

Beasts of the Southern Wild

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Director: Benh Zeitlin

Cast: Quvenzhane Wallis, Dwight Henry, Levy Easterly, Lowell Landes, Pamela Harper, Gina Montana, and Amber Henry

The Plot

Six-year-old Hushpuppy and her single father, Wink, live in a small community known as “The Bathtub,” located in the Mississippi River delta. Their home has been physically separated from the rest of the natural world when a levee is built upstream. The adults of ”The Bathtub” acknowledge the threat of total submersion, should a big storm hit, but choose to stay regardless.

Hushpuppy and Wink live in separate structures on a rundown property, raising animals for food. The relationship between father and daughter is regularly punctuated by arguments and physical altercations, although the love for each other is easily observed.

Hushpuppy’s outlook on life borders on the fantasy side, especially when it comes to the mother she never met, but she also seems wise for her years when contemplating her part in the universe.

When the big storm hits, Wink and Hushpuppy decide to stay with fellow residents, figuring out how survival will look going forward. Can Wink still keep the secret that he is hiding from Hushpuppy in these new circumstances?

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4. Eat Pray Love (2010)

Eat Pray Love

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Director: Ryan Murphy

Cast: Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, Richard Jenkins, Viola Davids, Billy Crudup, and James Franco

The Plot

Elizabeth Gilbert, a writer by profession, has reached a crisis point in her life. Her relationship with her husband Stephan has come to a crossroads, where they seem to be at different places in their lives. Elizabeth admits to Stephan that she wants out of the marriage, and the couple goes through a divorce.

Soon after the divorce is finalized, Elizabeth throws herself into a new relationship with David Piccolo, whom she meets at a stage play. Like many people on the path of self-discovery and healing, she quickly realizes that she is indeed her own worst enemy and Nr.1 problem.

She decides to use some of the predictions from a Balinese medicine man and starts planning the year. Geographically, the year will consist of spending time in three places: Italy, India, and Indonesia.

The three I’s that can potentially change her life forever. Even when sticking to her plan, life has the fantastic way to throw a spanner in any best-laid plans, out of which comes the most profound answers.

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5. 127 Hours (2010)

127 Hours

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Director: Danny Boyle

Cast: James Franco, Amber Tamblyn, Kate Mara, Sean Bott, Treat Williams, Kate Burton, and Lizzy Caplan

The Plot

Aron Ralston is an outdoor adventurist, and like most young men in the prime of their physical life, he acts like he is invincible, challenging himself to the max when it comes to outdoor adventures. On April 26, 2003, he decided to go on an adventure hike through the secluded Blue John Canyon, informing no one of this particular trek.

But on this day, the usually fleetfooted Aron falls down a crevice, and when he lands at the bottom, he finds that his lower right arm is trapped between the crevice wall and a pursuing boulder. Informing just one person of his hiking plans would have made a world of difference. Now he is in a world of trouble.

Aron has access to his gear, which means he has access to small rations and a limited water supply. Aron begins to think of his mortality as time goes by, reflecting on the ones he loves and the ones he has lost. The battle for survival has already started, and Aron starts to consider the unthinkable.

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6. Frances Ha (2013)

Frances Ha

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Director: Noah Baumbach

Cast: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver, Michael Zegen, Michael Esper, Charlotte D’Amboise, and Grace Gummer

The Plot

Frances Halladay lives in New York, even though she doesn’t have an apartment. She is trying to make it as a dancer, apprentice in a modern dance troupe, yet she’s not a dancer. Francis’s best friend, Sophie, considers themselves like a married, old, lesbian couple who don’t sleep with each other, as they are both heterosexuals. The friends hardly speak with each other.

Francis seems to be permanently broke, unfocused at the best of times, and often indulges in self-destructive behaviors. She is a dream chaser, throws herself headfirst into them, even when the dream starts to fizzle. Francis seems to stumble from one situation to another, be it in her personal or professional life; she lacks balance as her expectations hardly match her abilities.

Staying true to her out-of-tune visions without the ability to match the idea is the story of her life so far. She is also prone to selling herself short in the areas that she can excel. Love is a perfect example of one such place. She realizes that she can’t rely on her parents for support and needs to work to survive inexpensive New York.

Will Francis be able to find the right balance for herself and her life in New York?

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7. Maidentrip (2013)

Maidentrip

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Director: Jillian Schlesinger

Cast: Laura Dekker, Dick Dekker, Kim Dekker, Barbara Mueller, and Mike Rule

The Plot

The story of Laura Dekker, the 16-year-old Dutch schoolgirl who became the youngest person to sail solo around the world, is well-known. If there were ever a teenager who would achieve this feat, it would be the very determined Laura Dekker. She was born to this.

Laura was born on a boat in Whangarei, New Zealand, during her parents’ seven-year trip around the world. She spent the first four years of her life at sea. At the age of six, she owned her first dinghy, and her dream was always to repeat the route that her parents followed around the world.

When Laura announced her plans to circumnavigate the globe in 2009, the media labeled her spoiled and delusional. The Holland government stepped in and even shared custody with her parents to prevent her from attempting the challenge. For 10-months, the controversy raged on until a court ruled that she was free to go on the mission.

When divorce splits her family, she had to look after her dad when he had a breakdown. She was forced to be self-efficient, learning essential life skills during this time, ultimately preparing her with self-assurance for the trip ahead. As Laura plots her course on the water, she also indirectly plots her life’s course.

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8. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Little Miss Sunshine

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Director: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

Cast: Steve Carell, Toni Colette, Greg Kinnear, Abigail Breslin, Paul Dano, and Alan Arkin

The Plot

The Dwayne family is in a bit of a mess. Dysfunctional and emotionally bankrupt, the family consists of the relatively sane Sheryl, her unsuccessful husband Richard, seven-year-old daughter Olive, Nietzsche loving brother Dwayne (who has not spoken a word in nine months as he has taken a vow of silence), homosexual suicidal uncle Frank, and heroin-addicted grandpa Edwin.

When Olive is invited to contest in the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in Redondo Beach, California, the whole family is brought together by fate to partake in the trip from Albuquerque to California. Along the way, the family van breaks down, they forget Olive at a gas station, and all sorts of funny situations ensue.

Will they get Olive to the pageant on time, and most importantly, will they survive each other’s dysfunction?

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9. The Good Lie (2014)

The Good Lie

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Director: Philippe Falardeau

Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany, Emmanuel Jal, Femi Oguns, Kuoth Wiel, Corey Stoll, and Sarah Baker

The Plot

What will you do if your happy, carefree life is suddenly and violently destroyed? It is what a group of Sudanese children had to ask themselves when rebel forces massacred their village. As survivors, they are forced to flee, and their only option is to attempt walking to a refugee camp in Kenya with a group of fellow refugees.

No children should go through such an ordeal, yet there they are, walking hundreds of miles across African soil, searching for something other than the destroyed village they used to call home. To add to the absolute horror of the situation, the oldest brother Theo sacrifices himself to rebel soldiers while his siblings hide in some tall grass.

The tattered siblings- Jeremiah, Paul, Mamere, and Abital- eventually reach the refugee camp in Kenya. Years go by before they are selected to be resettled in the United States, where the three young men end up in Kansas and their sister in Boston. The siblings need to deal with another separation, culture adjustment, exposure to drugs, and criminals while figuring out how to live life in this alien environment.

Luckily, they have Carrie Davis (an employment agency counselor) that helps them with job placements and the search for their sister. She is their biggest supporter and closest friend in this tale of hardship and rediscovery of self. Difficult choices are never far away for this family as they receive a letter from the refugee camp in Kenia. Theo is alive.

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10. All Is Lost (2013)

All Is Lost

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Director: J.C. Chandar

Cast: Robert Redford

The Plot

Sometimes in life, you are forced to take on an unplanned journey, a journey nonetheless, and it’s in those moments where you find yourself. An unnamed man is forced into undertaking such a journey when he wakes up in his water-filled boat cabin.

The man is on a solo voyage in the Indian Ocean, and when he was sleeping, he hit a shipping container floating on the high seas. He successfully patches the breached hull; however, the navigation equipment and radio are all disabled. He finds himself not knowing his exact location, as is life, and will need to develop a plan quickly.

Using his mariner’s intuition and a nautical map to chart his progress, he sets off on a survival mission and is hit by a massive storm. Unable to navigate, his only chance is to survive the storm and use the ocean currents to carry him into shipping lanes. While sharks are circling his boat and his rations begin to dwindle, he has to stare straight into his own mortality.

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11. Cast Away (2002)

Cast Away

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Director: Robert Zemeckis

Cast: Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, and Paul Sanches

The Plot

Chuck Noland is a Memphis-based FedEx operations executive and lives with the love of his life Kelly Frears. Being a busy man, Chuck is more often on a business trip than at home, which is the biggest reason for them not being married. Progress is made when he gives Kelly a ring on Christmas Day 1995, before jetting off on another business trip.

Little did he know that a long time would pass before he saw Kelly again. The plane goes down somewhere in the South Pacific after experiencing technical difficulties. Chuck manages to survive the crash and finds his way onto a deserted island with the help of a lifeboat.

He doesn’t know what happened to the fellow passengers or the plane. Chuck is alone and stranded.

Survival is the main priority. Chuck finds several FedEx packages that washed up onshore and uses what he can in his new quest of staying alive. Physical survival is one thing; he quickly realizes that he needs to survive emotionally as well. He has an heirloom pocket watch that contains a picture of Kelly, providing him with some comfort.

Chuck finds a basketball, christens him Wilson, and the two are best of friends. Chuck does what he needs to survive.

As you would expect, Chuck goes through various emotions, thoughts, and feelings when spending time on the deserted island. He needs to escape the island and reunite with the love of his life. That is to say, if the love of his life has not moved on from Chuck’s “death.”

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12. Precious (2009)

Precious

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Director: Lee Daniels

Cast: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepard, Lenny Kravitz, and Stephanie Andujar

The Plot

Precious is her middle name and prefers it to her given name Claireece. She is a sixteen-year-old illiterate and overweight teenager living in Harlem. We join her life story while pregnant with her second child, the second of her children fathered through her biological father. Precious’ father has raped her continuously since she was a child.

Due to this forced incest, her firstborn daughter Mongo has Down Syndrome and lives with her grandmother. The troubled teenager stays with her mother, Mary, who abuses Precious physically and emotionally. All that Mary does is smoke, watch television, and collect welfare.

She has no ambition and believes that education for Precious is useless, choosing to collect welfare on her as well.

Precious will often dream glamorous dreams of herself to escape this horror story of a life and escape the neglect. When Precious is transferred to an alternative school because of her pregnancy, she meets the new school’s sympathetic and caring teacher, Miss Blu Rain. Precious begins to believe that she can escape her reality and forge a future by learning to read and write.

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Conclusion

No human life is without trials and tribulations. They form part of our growth as human beings. Some tend to look at them with disdain, not willing to face them and grow.

Like the characters in the movies listed above, others have no choice but to face theirs and come out on the other side a changed person.

Where there is a little spirit left, there is hope to be found. Never let circumstances douse your soul. Choose life and whatever comes with that choice.

References:

Wander-Lush: 18 Movies Like Into the Wild (Biopics, Dramas & Comedies)

SELF: 10 Movies Just as Inspiring As Wild

IMDB: Wild (2014)

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