Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Into the Wild

Once in a while, I come across a movie that haunts me. Not because the movie is scary (I avoid those anyhow) but because it is unexpected. It makes me think and reflect upon my own life. In the case of Into the Wild, it is about a person I never knew. He is not like me in any way. His story is both brave and tragic. Into the Wild is based on a true story, and I guess that is what got to me. This extraordinary and yet ordinary person is real.

Immediately after graduating from college in 1990, Christopher McCandless disappears and cuts all ties with his family. He donates his entire $24,000 savings to charity and later burns the only money he had left. He travels across the country on foot, dreaming of making it to Alaska and living off the land and away from civilization. He meets strangers on his journey and impacts their lives in big and small ways.

Major spoiler alert! (meaning don't read if you don't want to know the ending!)

When he reaches Alaska in April of 1992, his only provision is a bag of rice. He hunts for meat and scrounges for berries and plants. Sometimes, food is scarce, and he is starving for any kind of sustenance. After a few months in Alaska, he decides to leave but finds his only way out is blocked by a raging river that had melted in the Summer months. By this point, he has no food. He becomes thinner and weaker by the day. In desperation, he accidentally eats a poisonous plant. With no strength to escape, he finally dies from starvation. The wild he so fervently sought is what tragically kills him.

The real Christopher McCandless was 24 years old and weighed only 67 pounds when he died. His body was found a few weeks later in September 1992. It's so very sad. He could have had a great story to tell after his great adventure. But he died instead, and all alone. We will never know what motivated him to leave everything behind. This movie made me reflect upon my safe and quite life and find new bravery in facing my own wilderness. So in my own way, I will bravely go into the wild.


Laura said...

OMG I told you to watch this movie like a bijillion years ago you psycho. Sigh.

Tara said...

I don't listen to you, Laura! And I only watched it cuz it was free on demand. Heheheheheeh!