Into the Wild
Into the Wild is writer/director Sean Penn's adaptation of the popular book by Jon Krakauer, a nonfiction account of the post-collegiate wanderings of a young Virginia man, who divorces himself from his friends, family, and possessions in search of a greater spiritual knowledge and communion with nature. Upon his 1990 graduation from Emory University in Atlanta, Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) walks away from a loving if dysfunctional family and sends his nearly 25,000-dollar life savings to Oxfam International. Instead of the normal life his parents planned for him, Chris rechristens himself "Alexander Supertramp" and heads west in his beaten-up automobile until it no longer runs, at which point he takes up hitchhiking. The goal on the horizon? Alaska. By hook or by crook -- but without his limited cash, which he symbolically sets aflame -- Chris/Alexander determines to make it to his personal promised land, with stops along the way to experience America and its people. These adventures include a kayak trip down dangerous rapids, a gig working in a grain mill, extended stays with a hippie couple and a kindly old widower -- and enough cold, hunger, and exhaustion to leave him emotionally defeated more than once. Meanwhile, his parents (William Hurt and Marcia Gay Harden) and sister (Jena Malone) haven't received so much as a postcard from him, and begin to fear the worst. Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder composed the contemplative soundtrack.