Film Review: Into the Wild

What is happiness?



I’ve just watched Into the Wild.

(possible spoilers)



It’s a movie about a 23 year old guy, who just graduated from University with almost straight A’s and has $24,000 of college fund to put towards going to Harvard Law School.

He decides to leave it all, destroying his ID, giving the money to charity and hitting the road. He heads north to Alaska in the pursuit of freedom, a break from society and a new outlook on life.

What he finds is friendship, people, relationships and happiness, but also crushing loneliness, moral uneasiness and hunger.

This is apparently based on a true story and a book about the ‘real’ Christopher that up and left society to find a place which isn’t ruled by money, power and greed.

Ultimately he seeks truth and to escape the lies that his parents had told him as a child.

Look, I’m a big softy at heart. I have been known to sob at the end of Donnie Darko, and have been moved to tears by music. I don’t deny this and am not embarrassed by it. I found myself with tears rolling down my face as I watched this movie. Not only from the experiences that Chris has, but also from the amazing voice and music of Eddie Vedder who provides a lot of the soundtrack to the movie.

Couple that with the sensational scenery and cinematography and it resulted in a movie that moved me and made me think.

And that’s what I love about a good movie. It makes you think. It helps you to see things from another perspective and to ‘live’ another persons life for that 2 hours or so you are watching them

Like a good book, you immerse yourself in the characters. You see what they see and feel what they feel.

Emile Hersch does an outstanding job as Christopher. He brings a realness to the character that makes you want what he wants, but also want a lot more that he can’t. Cameo’s from Vince Vaughn, Jena Malone (who I have a huge crush on) and Catherine Keener are all great.

Sean Penn wrote and directed this movie, based on the book of the same name by Jon Krakauer. He really brought it to life and it shows what a great talent Sean is in both acting and directing.

Christopher is a very literary character. He has read a lot of books, quotes from them on different occasions and takes what is written to heart. I watched his character and wished that I had read as much as he had, and that I was able to quote even one line from a book, let alone pick them out randomly. There are so so many books out there, just waiting to be read, but when I go to do it, I just can’t seem to give them the time they deserve.

Maybe one day, when I’m old and wiser, I will take the time to read, absorb and learn from the classics.

I guess that’s one positive thing. They are never going away, and will wait for the day that I am ready to read them.

Christopher is seeking happiness. Along the way he ignores the opportunity to achieve possible happiness because he is focused on finding the happiness that he believes in. He doesn’t stop and realise that happiness has always been around him, and his selfishness towards his own family that truly loves him is profound and sad at the same time.

When he thinks he has finally found happiness, but instead encounters loneliness, he realises something and writes it down…

“Happiness is only real when shared”

I like that line and I really believe it. Whether it’s my happiness or someone elses, there is nothing like being able to share it with someone else. Sure, it is possible to be happy alone, but at some stage you will want to share that with someone else, whether it be in photos  or simply re-telling your experience. And if you can contribute to someone else’s happiness, then why not?

Very enjoyable movie and highly recommended, but not if you love moose.

And this movie gets 4 1/2 of them.

Moose Moose Moose MooseHalf Moose


About Mick

I've been around a while. I like to wrap myself around the warm security of the interwebs which have consumed me since 1993. I whinge, I rant, I crap on. Enjoy. View all posts by Mick

36 responses to “Film Review: Into the Wild

  • enny

    I reaaaaaaaally didn’t want to see this movie, but I did – and LOVED it.

    I cried a few times – pretty much any scene with an old guy in it made me bawl :o(

  • steelmag

    i just “experienced” this movie last nite.
    i wholeheartedly agree with all you’ve said. i knew nothing about this movie going into it except that a guy goes to alaska to live “in the wild.” i got way more than i bargained for. the ending…. left me breathless and i think time stood still for a few moments…

  • anzacgal

    hey Mick
    “Happiness is only real when shared”…I think this is a line from Thoreau (sp?). If you want to make a start on the classics check out his book “Walden” which I think it’s from. He was an interesting guy.
    I too was affected by this movie in a big way. Sean Penn’s direction is amazing. Did you notice the train and plane motifs used throughout?? …and the scenes with the ice near the beginning, just stunning.
    One thing that struck me though with Christopher is even though yes, you’re right, he formed these friendships they were always kept at arms length. His solitude and independence were both his greatest freedom and his greatest torment.

  • ck

    this movie is about a 22 year old guy that realized that everything people work for in life to achieve is allready given to us by god. He is mad at his parents for not raising him the way god intended. He somewhat sees his parents as the same way he sees life as artificial. You have to know that the greatest trick the devil has is convincing people he doesn’t exsist. The guy in this movie sees everyone suffering to live there lives the way they think is right. In the movie he learns that it could take 12 years to get a permit to ride down a river when it should be gods decision if he wants to do what he wants. This kid had no mentle problems when u realize he just wanted to live his life the way god intended. Why work for things we allready have?

  • eric kozevnikov

    I personally think that chris was inspired by eric ryback’s story and also was potentinally able to find his own personal santuary in the rommance of adventure or able to unplug himself from the normal-aciy of the program of society or structure of all that we as or are supos- tu hold as our own well being or as something further then the meaning or importance of life more than relucdant side as just an animal just with more than one will more than just one feeling or want to let yourself become one with one’s soul and to experiance life without being detictaed or being told how to be ;just be and find yousrelf for what you really are and then you can focus of what u can achieve without limitation’s chris was almost there he just needed more time to expres what he meant with his experiance’s thankk you for letting me see this story!

  • Into The Wild: Happiness Is Only Real When Shared « Blutsschwester's Musik-Blog

    […] Das schöne und berührende daran ist seine unangepasste Weise und die Einfühlsamkeit des Regisseurs. Kurz: Ich finde den Film einfach wunderbar, spare mir aber die Kritik. Die überlass ich dem Kleinen Movieblog. Ein Review für diesen Film gibt’s >hier<. […]

  • Ms. Mac

    A profound story that left me both saddened and intrigued. Why would a young man who had so much going for him have to die in such a senseless way?

  • My Name

    24 Bud… Get it right or ill set you right

  • Beckehhh

    I really enjoyed this movie.. I think it was very similar the book. It makes u think alot about what you value in life, and the things you think are important. For me i thought alot about what makes me happy and what that i need to open up my eyes a little to the happyness that the world itself can give me. Chris went on a life journey to find the true meaning of life and happyness unfortunatly it ended in his death but his story still touches hundreds of peopel world wide.

  • YoUrEaDyOuDiE

    It is truly an inspiring story of self conflict and adventure.

  • brody

    ya i like all the boobs ya

  • Austinnn-~~

    I really liked the Movie, he wanted to just live life till its over besides going through all the stress with his life, although when he made his way to Alaska he went through problems and then it suffered as death.

  • SmokeABlunt

    bet ya do brodes

  • TaylorMmmm

    It’s a very inspiring story that makes you think about society. He left his life to go live in Alaska and be free of the crap with his parents and society. The ending was really sad. He died because of one small, but fatal, mistake. There was some irony because he did forgive his parents at the end.

  • brody

    I think that Cris was triying to figer him self out and his life. the author shows this out therow the movey

  • brody

    the old man is funny

  • Melissa

    I found the movie heart warming and enspiring. The young man foefilled his dream and proved the important things in life. It was horribly sad when christopher passes away but because he passed away happy, it made the movie touching. Christopher lived the rest of his life the way he wanted to. It’s harsh he passed away so young but his story reached many people.

  • JR

    I liked the movie it was good. My favorite part is the river scene; it shows him enjoying life and successful. The ending was sad; he dies because of his lack of wilderness knowlege. It was not that great and he should of had more experience and more streetsmarts.

  • Natasha.B.G

    Christopher felt that his parents expected too much from him and wanted him to persue a great life in the future with good education. Of coarse every parent would want you to suceed, but Christopher thought different about life in society. Everyone thought it was a no brainer to start your life, getting a well paying job, and doing the same thing over and over again every day. There’s not much of a life to live when you live in society like that so Christpher thought that why does humans make the rules when god gave us to live a good live. So he lived what he thought was right in his eyes.

  • W

    After watching this movie, it made me think about the human relations in today’s society. Society changes throughout culture, time and revolutions. There was a huge change in the value to “happiness.” In the past, “food and water” were happiness to a villiage, where people can share “food and water” which gave happiness to people.Party and fest can be held where people were connected to each other and where happiness can be share. In contrast, happiness had changed to “money”, where many people are willing to die to obtain the most in a society. Some say “money can’t not buy happiness” and it is true. it is becuase money can not buy human relations, just like the quote from the movie
    “Happiness is only real when shared”.
    As a exchange student, i had experienced many different society that human had made for, survival and happiness. For example, places like “Las Vegas”, bring “happiness” to people while gambling in casinos, who are winning money. In contrast, people who were losing, were losing “happiness” who where angry at the people who were winning many plastics tokens in a game of Black Jack.
    To finish my comment, happiness should be shared along people in the society. Just like the movie, where Alex sang with the girl ( forgotten nam) and Alex gave happiness to the hippy couple on the road.

  • Bronson

    I liked two things the most, the TNA, I’m talking about the tits and the ass ladies and gentlemen. I mean, it was spectacular, especially in High Definition. I found myself glued to the screen and replaying the scenes where the TNA had occurred, Infact thats the only scene I have ever watched. Save yourself the embarrassment and don’t head to the adult video store anymore, just head to Walmart buy some Vaseline and “Into the wilderness” and your set. I recommend a dvd player with a zoom feature to really get close up on those tits!

  • Brody

    my name is Brody Mason i love boobes

  • Nicole

    I found this movie very inspiering, It made me look at life in a diffrent way. It showed that even if you have money it doesn t always mean you’ll be happy.

  • brendon

    It makes u think alot about what you value in life

  • max cataford

    this movie was alright i liked the ending it was dece

  • Amanda

    Into The Wild gave me alot to think about. Christopher showed how you don’t need money and objects to be happy. He burnt his money, and left his car. He didn’t need any of it, and when he got money for working he said that he thought that it made things too easy. He didn’t want money, he didn’t need money. He wanted to leave to find himself so he could escape from everything so he didn’t need to deal with the stress of normal life. But in the end he wanted to return to society. His story showed me that you don’t need all the glory, money, and objects to make you happy. Doing something you want to truley do will make you happy in the end. Even though his story ended in fatality it must have given everyone that has watched it a very strong message.

  • AmBeR

    I think what Chris did was very enspring Becuse He didint Like the way he and eveyone was liveing so he went of on his journey to find out who he is .He left becuse his live was planed out for him and his mom and dad we allways telling him how to live and how to be and he wanted to have his own life so he went and had his own life and he did what ever he wanted and let no one tell him how to live .some people dont understand why he would do this but i understand why he did what he did .It was very sad that he died but at lease he died happy.


    chris wanted to live life how he wanted it he hated how his parents wanted all the money and chris didnt want that he just wanted to escape and be himself what he wanted to be and thats what chris did and things didnt end up the way chris wanted them to in the end which is pretty shity cause chris was a nice men he was

  • Joseph Graham :D

    This movie is amazing it protrays adventure, dedication, and resentment all in one big package. He travels all over U.S.A, starts in Virgina and ended up in alaska. Chris had great dedication to finish his adventure enough to drive him to the breaking point of dying. He resented his father and his actions that greatly effected everyone around him, and not in a positive way.

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