First off, it’s not a hiking movie. There’s some scenery, and a few legit interactions between the main character and other hikers, and some might-not-have-happened-but-definitely-could-have scary scenes with some hunters, but it’s not a hiking movie.
It’s a movie about a woman who grew up out of control, in a house that was out of control, and when faced with the death of her mother, fell apart. Her life degenerates in predictable Hollywood ways, and she has an epiphany about hiking the PCT to somehow make her a better person. Later declaring herself a feminist, she retroactively empowers herself and justifies her former self-destructive behavior as somehow necessary on a cosmic level. She doesn’t complete the trail, she gets to somewhere in Oregon and is apparently healed.
Chick flick + hipster + some hiking scenes on the PCT.
The main takeaway – Plan Ahead And Prepare. They made much of her almost-charming lack of planning, skills, or appropriate equipment. Walk-in-the-Woods-esque.
Edit: Some further thoughts – it’s possible that the production of the movie simply fell back on cliches – closeups of heroin bubbling over a flame, dimly lit room with a nipple in profile to prove that the actress was naked, etc. It’s possible that the book wasn’t filled with self-indulgent cliches. But the movie was.
Also, props to the movie for showing her lighting small campfires on a metal plate. #MinimizeCampfireImpacts