Land is a new film from Robin Wright in her directorial debut, although it’s clear she’s been taking notes her entire career. If you’re looking for a film that will sweep you away and wrap you up in a feeling of singular emotion, Land will take you to that place.
There’s a lot of kismet in my life. I’ll find that I’m suddenly interested in the okapi and then I’ll see an okapi at a zoo and there will be a new documentary about okapi that catches my eye on tv. That’s how my world always seems to work. In fact, I think that’s how it works for most people, they just don’t pay attention to it.
It would seem that kismet has brought me this film as well.
I recently auditioned as a producer (narrator) for an audiobook called A Road to Joy, about a woman who unexpectedly loses her husband and retreats to the wilderness to explore the raw emotion that she’s left to deal with. It was a challenging audition that really touched my heart, much like the story of Land.
Land is the story of a woman, Edee (Robin Wright), whose world is shattered when she’s faced with an indescribable loss. We don’t initially know what that loss is but assume that she’s lost her family and is suddenly left alone in the world. In fact, she’s also unwilling to burden others with her loss and therefore suffers alone in her grief.
No longer able to cope with the insignificance of day-to-day activities or able to face dealing with people, she heads to the wilderness of Wyoming to essentially live as a hermit.
She buys a cabin, site unseen, at the top of a mountain with access only to a river and an outhouse. She chooses to leave the world behind, discarding her phone and her vehicle, and is determined to find a new way to survive.
Unfortunately, survival isn’t just a mental game and Edee soon discovers that she’s on the brink of freezing or starvation, or both.
She’s discovered by local hunter, Miguel (Demián Bichir), who helps bring her back to life both physically and mentally.
This could have been a setup for a cliché. Edee could find love again with Miguel. She could realize that life is worth living. She could understand that we truly need people. But that would have been the easy and predictable cinematic path.
Just like the saying goes, this movie is not about the destination. It’s about the journey. The dialogue is light but the emotion is heavy. Coupled with a beautiful and sometimes frightening backdrop of the American Wilderness, this is a film made to watch on the big screen, either in the theater or, like me, on your big screen at home.
As far as kismet goes, I’ve also been watching several seasons of the reality show, Alone, which drops 10 survival experts into a completely isolated wilderness area with only 10 items to assist in their survival. Each contestant must build shelter, find food, keep warm, and try to keep their sanity while filming their exploits.
I thought of the show multiple times while watching Land thinking of both the appeal and the fear of living in such a wild and isolated existence. And I’ve often wondered if I could survive such an existence (answer: probably not).
Edee went into the wilderness, completely unprepared, looking to find something: a way to co-exist with her pain, a sense of purpose, perhaps some peace. We don’t really know exactly what she wanted or needed but we go on the journey with her and realize by the end that she has likely found something she didn’t know she was looking for.
Bring your tissues. It’s not necessarily a tearjerker but it will give you all the feels. It’s a profound movie in a beautiful setting with great performances by both lead actors.
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