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Reese Witherspoon and Cheryl Strayed find the meaning of 'Wild'

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In 1995, Cheryl Strayed hiked 1,000 miles up the Pacific Crest Trail in a purifying, last-gasp effort to become the woman her late mother died thinking she could be. Her self-destructive grief following her mother’s death from cancer had cost her her marriage, and it wasn’t until she was alone out in the wild for 94 days that she rediscovered herself.

But it took years for her to truly understand the meaning of that trek, says Strayed, who didn’t publish her best-seller, Wild, until 2012. “I turned to the trail at a time in my life when I felt lost, at a place that I didn’t know how to come to terms with the death of my mother,” Strayed says in an exclusive featurette about the film, which opened Dec. 3 and expands on Friday. “It became about what it means to bear the unbearable.”

Reese Witherspoon stars as Strayed in the film, and the actress was recently honored with a Golden Globe nomination, her fourth career Globe nod and first since Walk the Line, the movie that won her her Oscar.