FILM & TV

Hear Her Roar

Two films bring the superheroine down to earth.


In the past few years, we have witnessed the rise of the cinematic superheroine—from action-figure types named Katniss and Hanna to more down-to-earth wonder women portrayed by actresses like Shailene Woodley and Quvenzhané Wallis. This Oscar season is no different. In Jean-Marc Vallée’s Wild (December 5), Reese Witherspoon continues to shed her rom-com good-girl image, playing Cheryl Strayed, a promiscuous heroin addict who embarks on a treacherous 1,100-mile hike. It’s woman versus nature, and Cheryl versus herself. In the Dardenne brothers’ Two Days, One Night (December 24), Marion Cotillard is Sandra, who, after suffering a bout of depression, returns to her job in a factory to discover that her bosses have eliminated her position and offered her coworkers bonuses to pick up the slack. This is hardly dystopian fare, but the battles, nonetheless, feel larger than life.

Cotillard in Two Days, One Night. Courtesy of Fox Searchlight.

Wild: Behind the Scenes

“Reese getting in a mental state of mind before I say action, as she’s about to shovel like crazy, pissed at herself for being pregnant, for becoming what she became; and as she’s about to experience an epiphany moment: ‘I gotta go back to that store, and walk myself back to the woman my mother thought I was.’”

Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight

“A cowboy in an open field surrounded by funny looking scarecrows.”

Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight

“A happy director with a happy author [Cheryl Strayed]… laughing at Reese, who is out of the frame, walking with a 70-pound monster bag on her back.”

Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight

“Where is the cinematographer’s shadow on the road? And where the hell is the monster bag’s shadow?”

Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight

“We’re in cold Oregon, in fall, and this location plays for Kennedy Meadows, in warm California. We erased the snow in post-production. Reese doesn’t look happy here. I wonder if it has something to do with the half-mile walk she just did with monster on her back.”

Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight

“Crater Lake. Wow! Right in front of you, idiot, not on the left!”

Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight

“Reese finds herself in front of a mother fucking giant rock. Me: ‘Yes, sweetie, you gotta put the 70-pound backpack on again and climb the rock.’ Reese: ‘Can I use the fake one, please, the light bag?’ Me: ‘No. Action.’”

Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight

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