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

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Universal acclaim- based on 298 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: 99 out of 128
  2. Negative: 21 out of 128
  1. PeterM.
    Jan 26, 2008
    A great film. even though i loved penn's other three films i wasn't that excited about this; but its a masterpiece.
  2. CarlosLoayza
    Jul 21, 2009
    this movie is right on target on the hipocrisy all around us and how somwtimes nature is the answer to bring a man's soul down to earth and realised what's really important.. I think Sean Pean capture this message brilliantly.

    I think those who critizice this message have obviously never been in a situation of extreme discomfort and have life a secure, rouitine, and danger free life. book smart "intelegent" people who are scare to live and who have played it safe all their life.
  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. Adev
    Apr 1, 2008
    outstanding film which takes away day to day hassles in the modern world and shows it that money means nothing its the experiences that last with you forever its quite sad at times, and its a very well made film and jumps from highs to lows throughout. Enjoyed every minuite of this relatively long film. Expand
  5. ChadS.
    Mar 5, 2008
    Had Christopher McCandless(Emile Hirsch) forgiven mom and dad before that fateful nature hike and returned to civilization, his experiment in ascetic living would've been exposed as merely an extreme adventure disguised as a protestation against materialism. Like the woman in Pulp's "Common People", Christopher, at any time, could've returned to his upper-middle class roots, once came to terms with his crummy childhood. Real poor people, however, if you asked them, would love to have a crummy childhood like Christopher's. But because this young man died, horribly, these projected criticisms about his so-called heroism, fall by the wayside. "Into the Wild" demonstrates how literature, not just populist music, can influence young people to make bad choices. What's the difference between Silverchair and Jack London if you're the sort of person who turns to external forces as the culprit each time tragedy strikes somebody down prematurely? Since "Into the Wild" uses a lot of flashbacks and voiceovers, the depiction of Christopher's death, albeit somewhat distasteful and exploitative, finally captures the isolation and loneliness that this young man encountered. It's hard to watch. Expand
  6. THW
    Oct 18, 2007
    An interesting story of a young guy disgusted and repulsed by our modern world and our selfish ways who wanders out to Alaska to find solace and insight. Although I never lost interest in the storyline, it plodded along with the speed of a sleepy elephant. And with a running time close to 2.5 hours, I felt some additional editing would have helped make this movie feel less aloof and more focused. 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 128 User Reviews