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Into the Wild Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… Penn is more interested in commenting on the U.S. today … Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert


    Read Full Review

  • 60

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    Penn opts for epic proportions and clutters his narrative with gimmicks. For the most part, it works. What's missing is the perspective and insight that would illuminated the inner dimensions of a driven young man who is preachy and downright irritating.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    From seductive start to shattering finish, the film is as stirring, entertaining and steadfastly thrilling as it is beautiful.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Captivating and multifaceted.

    Read Full Review

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    The beauty of Into the Wild, which Penn has written and directed with magnificent precision and imaginative grace, is that what Christopher is running from is never as important as what he's running TO.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Into the Wild reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 15+

Powerful, tragic true story is too heavy for kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this long (140 minutes) drama is based on the true story of a college graduate who decided to live off the grid for more than two years, culminating in a fatal four-month solo journey to the Alaskan backcountry. The tragic nature of his death might be too heavy a theme for younger kids, but teens -- some of whom may read the best-seller on which the film is based in school -- could be drawn to the story of a young man who seeks beauty and truth. There's some language (including "f--k") and social drinking, some bare breasts, a non-sexual glimpse of star Emile Hirsch's penis as he floats naked in a river, and another fleeting shot of a couple making love (no sensitive body parts shown).

  • Families can talk about whether knowing Chris' fate ahead of time affects the impact of the movie. If so, how? If not, why? Are movies based on real lives/true stories more interesting than those that are pure fiction? Families can also discuss how you feel about Chris after watching the movie. What honorable/admirable things did he accomplish? How did he impact the people he came to know on the road? On the other hand, did he treat his parents and sister fairly? Should he have contacted his family?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: It's highly debatable whether some of Chris' actions were inconsiderate and selfish or justified. Either way, he chose to abandon his family and the prospect of a conventional life for one more attuned with nature and "truth."

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Chris is badly beaten by a railroad cop. There are disturbing images of Chris' emaciated body toward the end of the film. In one bloody sequence, Chris shoots and butchers a moose; in other scenes, he shoots and roasts smaller game. He carries a hunting rifle during many of the Alaska-set scenes.

  • sex false5

    Sex: Jan and Rainey are briefly shown making love in their RV (nothing sensitive is shown); a 16-year-old takes off her jeans and propositions Chris, but he declines. One non-sexual glimpse of a completely nude Chris floating on a river. A brief drive-through scene in a nudist camp; when Chris has lunch with a cheerful Danish couple, the woman goes bare-breasted for most of the scene.

  • language false3

    Language: Strong, but not incessant. Words include "f--k," "a--hole," "s--t," etc.

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: International Harvester bus; John Deere; Burger King.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Chris drinks with Wayne and his friends at a local bar in a couple of scenes; Jan appears to roll a joint.