Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch), son of wealthy parents (Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt), graduates from Emory University as a top student and athlete. However, instead of embarking on a prestigious and profitable career, he chooses to give his savings to charity, rid himself of his possessions, and set out on a journey to the Alaskan wilderness.
In April 1992, Christopher McCandless arrives in a remote area called Healy, just north of Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. Noting McCandless’ unpreparedness, the stranger who drops him off gives him a pair of gumboots. McCandless travels into the wilderness and sets up a campsite in an abandoned city bus, which he calls “The Magic Bus”. At first, McCandless is content with the isolation, the beauty of nature around him, and the thrill of living off the land. He hunts with a .22 caliber rifle, reads books, and keeps a diary of his thoughts as he prepares himself for a new life in the wild.
Two years earlier, in May 1990, McCandless graduates with high honors from Emory University, but is shown to have become disenchanted with modern society after discovering he and his sister Carine were born out of wedlock when his father was married to another woman. Shortly afterwards, he rejects his conventional life by destroying all of his credit cards and identification documents. He donates nearly all of his savings to Oxfam and sets out on a cross-country drive in his Datsun 210 to experience life in the wilderness. McCandless does not tell his parents, Walt and Billie, nor Carine what he is doing or where he is going and refuses to keep in touch with them after his departure, causing his parents to become increasingly anxious and eventually desperate.
At Lake Mead, McCandless’ car is caught in a flash flood, causing him to abandon it and begin hitchhiking. He burns what remains of his cash and assumes a new name: “Alexander Supertramp”. In Northern California, McCandless encounters a hippie couple named Jan Burres and Rainey. Rainey tells McCandless about his failing relationship with Jan, which McCandless helps rekindle. In September, McCandless arrives in Carthage, South Dakota, and works for a contract harvesting company owned by Wayne Westerberg. He is forced to leave after Westerberg is arrested for satellite piracy.
McCandless then travels on the Colorado River and, though told by park rangers that he may not kayak down the river without a license, ignores their warnings and paddles downriver until he eventually arrives in Mexico. There, his kayak is lost in a dust storm, and he crosses back into the United States on foot. Unable to hitch a ride, he travels on freight trains to Los Angeles. Not long after arriving, however, he starts feeling “corrupted” by modern civilization and decides to leave. Later, he is forced to resume hitchhiking, after being beaten by railroad police.
In December 1991, McCandless arrives at Slab City, in the Imperial Valley, and encounters Jan and Rainey again. There, he also meets Tracy Tatro, a teenage girl who shows interest in McCandless, but he rejects her because she is underage. After the holidays, McCandless decides to continue heading for Alaska. One month later, camping near Salton City, McCandless encounters Ron Franz, a retired widower who lost his family in a car accident while he was serving in the United States Army. He now occupies his time in a workshop as an amateur leather worker. Franz teaches McCandless the craft of leatherwork, resulting in the making of a belt that details McCandless’ travels. After spending two months with Franz, McCandless decides to leave for Alaska, despite this upsetting Franz, who has become quite close to McCandless. On a parting note, Franz gives McCandless his old camping and travel gear, along with the offer to adopt him as his grandchild, but McCandless simply tells him that they should discuss this after he returns from Alaska.
Four months later, at the abandoned bus introduced at the beginning of the film, life for McCandless becomes harder, and he makes several poor decisions. He tries to live off the land and hunts down a large moose with his rifle, but becomes quite distraught when he finds that he cannot preserve the meat and it spoils within days. As his supplies dwindle, he realizes that nature is harsh and uncaring.
McCandless concludes that true happiness can be found only when shared with others, and he seeks to return from the wild to his friends and family. However, he finds that the stream he had crossed during the winter has become wide, deep, and violent due to the snow thaw, and he is unable to cross. Saddened, he returns to the bus. In a desperate act, McCandless is forced to gather and eat roots and plants. He confuses similar plants and eats a poisonous one, falling sick as a result. Slowly dying, he continues to document his process of self-realization, and imagines what it might have looked like if he had managed to return to his family. He writes a farewell note to the world and crawls into his sleeping bag to die.
The epilogue states that, two weeks later, his body is found by moose hunters. Shortly afterwards, Carine returns to Virginia with her brother’s ashes in her backpack.
Sean Penn (screenplay), Jon Krakauer (book)
Emile Hirsch, as Chris McCandless a.k.a. Alexander Supertramp
Vince Vaughn, as Wayne Westerberg
Catherine Keener as Jan Burres.
Film start cast:
- Emile Hirsch
- Marcia Gay Harden
- William Hurt
- Jena Malone
- Catherine Keener
- Brian Dierker
- Vince Vaughn
- Zach Galifianakis
- Kristen Stewart
- Hal Holbrook
There is plenty of sorrow to be found in “Into the Wild.” But though the film’s structure may be tragic, its spirit is anything but. Full review A.O. Scott
The NYTimes Whether or not you agree with the accuracy of the portrayal, it’s fascinating — beautiful, even — to see a young man embark on his own hero’s journey. Full reviewSandie Angulo Chen
Common Sense Media With the whole of America as his backdrop, Penn pulls off his most ambitious movie yet. The result is a beautiful and thought-provoking road movie. Full review Dan Jolin
Into the wild quotes:
Christopher McCandless: Strong. You can do anything. You can go anywhere. Money, power is an illusion. It’s up here. You can be here. Me and you.
Ron Franz: I’m going to miss you when you go. Christopher McCandless: I will miss you too, but you are wrong if you think that the joy of life comes principally from the joy of human relationships. God’s place is all around us, it is in everything and in anything we can experience. People just need to change the way they look at things.
Christopher McCandless: If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, then all possibility of life is destroyed.
Christopher McCandless: Some people feel like they don’t deserve love. They walk away quietly into empty spaces, trying to close the gaps of the past.
Christopher McCandless: “When you want something in life, you just gotta reach out and grab it.”
Christopher McCandless: When you want something in life, you just gotta reach out and grab it.
Christopher McCandless: What if I were smiling and running into your arms? Would you see then what I see now?
Christopher McCandless: When you want something in life, you just gotta reach out and grab it.
Jan Burres: “If you want something in life, reach out and grab it.”Jan Burres: If you want something in life, reach out and grab it.
Christopher McCandless: You are really good. I mean, you’re like, a hundred thousand times better than like any apple I’ve ever had. I’m not Superman, I’m Supertramp and you’re super apple. You’re so tasty, you’re so organic, so natural. You are the apple of my eye, ha!
Christopher McCandless: …And I also know how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong. To measure yourself at least once. To find yourself at least once in the most ancient of human conditions. Facing the blind death stone alone, with nothing to help you but your hands and your own head Christopher McCandless: …And I also know how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong. To measure yourself at least once. To find yourself at least once in the most ancient of human conditions. Facing the blind death stone alone, with nothing to help you but your hands and your own head.
Christopher McCandless: The core of mans’ spirit comes from new experiences Christopher McCandless: The core of mans’ spirit comes from new experiences.
Christopher McCandless: Happiness is only real once sharedChristopher McCandless: Happiness is only real once shared.Christopher McCandless: Happiness is only real when shared.
Christopher McCandless: Happiness is only real when shared.
Christopher McCandless: I’m going to paraphrase Thoreau here… rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness… give me truthChristopher McCandless: I’m going to paraphrase Thoreau here… rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness… give me truth.
Christopher McCandless: I read somewhere… how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong… but to feel strong.
Ron Franz: When you forgive, you love. And when you love, God’s light shines on you.Ron Franz: But when you forgive, you love. And when you love, God’s light shines through you.
Christopher McCandless: When you want something in life, reach out and grab it. Christopher McCandless: When you want something in life, you just gotta reach out and grab it.
Ron Franz: When you forgive, you love. And when you love, God’s light shines on you.
Christopher McCandless, a young graduate, decides to renounce all his possessions and hitchhike across America. Who yearns to live alone in the Alaskan wilderness. The conclusion of the movie told us “Happiness is only real when shared. “
Ratings: Five out four.
You can stream Into the wild on Netflix.
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