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R16: sex scenes, nudity, drug use and offensive language

Spoiler alert

This page outlines how the classification criteria were applied. We do our best to discuss the content while avoiding spoilers, but please avoid reading this information if you do not want to learn anything about the content of this movie.

Wild poster

Date registered: 20/01/2015

About the film

Wild is a film based on Cheryl Strayed's best-selling memoir, Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found.

In 1995, needing to recover from her mother's death and a life which had disintegrated, she walked 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. Her solo journey takes around 95 days, from the Mojave Desert to the Oregon-Washington border.

A still image from the film - Cheryl in the widerness with her backpack on

Classification criteria: Sex

The film deals with matters of sex in flashbacks or images that are swift, almost hallucinatory, but relatively graphic. These are shown in succession to illustrate the period of promiscuity that she went though after her mother's death. There is nudity in all but these are mostly limbs, buttocks and breasts as Cheryl is seen engaged in sexual intercourse in different locations and with different men. The strongest is of rear-entry intercourse seen in a corner of a bar. This is caught from a distance followed by a close image of skin and faces.

A still image from the film - Cheryl in a flashback sex scene

Classification criteria: Crime

The final scenes in the montage described above link sex and crime and show the naked Cheryl in bed with a man. He prepares heroin for use with some tin-foil and a lighter and is seen injecting it into her foot. The depictions are brief but stark. Earlier, Cheryl remembers being in bed, entwined with a man. Both are naked and he lights a marijuana cigarette.

Crime sits significantly in the publication, mostly as drug use or the consequences of drug use and addiction. Cheryl's story does not glamorise this, rather it sits amidst the context of a woman finding the energy and resolve to alter her life for the better. As such, the film does not promote or encourage the crimes depicted.

A still image from the film - a hungover Cheryl looks at trail walking books in a bookstore

Classification criteria: Violence or coercion in association with sexual conduct

Each time Cheryl encounters men on the trail, she is seen evaluating the situation from the perspective of a lone woman. Always there is the possibility of danger and/or sexual danger, and she must read the man/men and be aware of her options. When she is putting out her thumb to hitch a ride, she voices a question to an imaginary man, "Ok if I get into your car so you can rape and dismember me?"

She encounters two men in a forest later on the trail. Notions of danger are immediately presented as these men have archery equipment and they give further feelings of menace because of the way they leer and comment. "How can we kill time?" says one suggestively. Cheryl later sees one of the men spying on her as she changes her underwear. He stares and smirks, obviously enjoying her fear, mentioning her "tight little ass".

A still image from the film - Cheryl encounters one of the threatening men

Classification criteria: Highly offensive language

The dialogue contains a significant use of highly offensive language. The highly offensive language heard is generally well contextualised within Cheryl's anger and/or frustration and sits comfortably alongside the trials of her journey and the dark nature of her past life.

A still image from the film - Cheryl with a desperate expression on her face, in wet weather gear on the trail

Decision summary

The film needs to be restricted mostly due to the depictions of sex and crime and notions of threat and violence. Children and young teenagers are likely to be shocked and disturbed by this material, in particular those of sex acts and drug use. The significant use of highly offensive language also supports a restriction to older audiences.

The publication is therefore classified as objectionable except if its availability is restricted to persons who have attained the age of 16 years.

Contact the Information Unit if you require further information on a classification decision.

R16 label
R16: sex scenes, nudity, drug use and offensive language