Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 287 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Freshly graduated from college and with a promising future ahead, 22-year-old Christopher McCandless chose instead to walk out of his privileged life and into the wild in search of adventure. What happened to him on the way transformed this young wanderer into an enduring symbol for countless people. Was Christopher McCandless a heroic adventurer or a naïve idealist, a rebellious 1990s Thoreau or another lost American son, a fearless risk-taker or a tragic figure who wrestled with the precarious balance between man and nature? (Paramount Vantage) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 38
  2. Negative: 0 out of 38
  1. 91
    There's a bittersweet quality to McCandless' story that Penn captures intuitively.
  2. 88
    Penn, in tandem with the superb cinematographer Eric Gautier (The Motorcycle Diaries), captures the majesty and terror of the wilderness in ways that make you catch your breath.
  3. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Penn has often said that he dislikes acting and would prefer to direct full time. Into the Wild is impressive enough to give him license to do just that.
  4. It’s half-crock and half-sublime, which seems about right for its subject.
  5. 63
    The movie tries its hardest to celebrate the impetuousness of its hero and the exhilaration of his accomplishments. Mostly, though, it just reminds you of the severity of his mistakes.
  6. A murky screenplay leaves most of the humans ciphers, save for Hal Holbrook in an exquisitely calibrated performance as the avuncular desert retiree whose advice McCandless should have heeded.

See all 38 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 98 out of 127
  2. Negative: 21 out of 127
  1. KaylaD.
    Mar 14, 2008
    I thought the movie was excellent. And how about giving some of the credit to Emile, I couldn't have asked for a better leading character than him. Emile plays Christopher in such a way that I felt as if I knew him. It was spectacular, and incredibly moving because I could feel Emile's emotion while in character. Expand
  2. Oct 11, 2010
    a beautiful movie filled with wonderful acting from the whole cast, but emile hirsh may have even his best for this movie, a must watch for anyone who wants to finish a movie and still be thinking about it days later. Expand
  3. Nov 18, 2010
    The film repects the true story as expressed in Jon Krakauer's book. I can't overstate how good Emile Hirsch is as the lead. Every supporting actor plays their part to near perfection. Sean Penn is as good a director as he is an actor. The music goes really well with the film. Expand
  4. Wiebe
    Oct 11, 2008
    Loved it. Very thoughtful, inspiring and scenic. You will like the movie depending on whether you sympathize with or criticize the main character? There's something to be said for both sides. But remember this is just one person dealing with his struggles. Great soundtrack too Expand
  5. ThatemW
    Mar 24, 2008
    Great movie. Really followed the book well. Also some great shots of Alaska. Highly recomend this to anyone. Little slow, but leaves a lot to the imagination. Expand
  6. bobj.
    Nov 7, 2007
    Gorgeous filming of the Midwest and Alaska and good pacing, but Chris was as flat as a run over cat as a sympathetic character. Not believable as a deeply affected young man whose parent's "ruined" his life, I felt no connection with him whatever. He seemed about 13 years old in appearance and nto very handsome. It was a relief to see him face up in the "magic bus" staring at Jesus. A waste of good money. Expand
  7. JoshuaW.g
    Sep 26, 2007
    This movie is very simple. It's a 2 hour and 20 minute glorification and romanticization of a guy who wasn't playing with a full deck, mentally speaking, who (perhaps somewhat inadvertently) committed suicide in the wild. He died ONLY because he didn't bother to take basic provisions like a map. Sean Penn admitted on Charlie Rose that if he simply had a map, he easily could have walked out of the area where he died instead of dying. But he was too crazy to take a map or basic survival provisions, or learn basic survival training, and thus wasted his life for no reason. His death was completely senseless, stupid and unnecessary. He was not a hero. He was not an inspiration. Therefore this movie has no reason to exist, because glorifying and romanticizing a guy who committed suicide is bad for society and mankind as a species. If you really are desperate to see a glorification of suicide then it's much cheaper to watch the old clip of Dr. Jack Kevorkian from the news show "60 Minutes" instead of buying a ticket to "Into the Wild". Expand

See all 127 User Reviews