Into the Wild

Rated 3.0

Writer-director Sean Penn adapts Jon Krakauer’s book about Chris McCandless, the young man who renounced his middle-class privileges and hit the road as “Alexander Supertramp,” living the life of a latter-day hippie communing with nature—until his luck ran out and he starved to death in the Alaskan wilderness in 1992. Penn’s film is a loving tribute to McCandless’ restless nature, overlong (at 153 minutes it seems assembled rather than edited), but beautifully photographed (by Eric Gautier) and expertly acted by Emile Hirsch as McCandless, William Hurt and Marcia Gay Harden as his flawed parents, and Brian Dierker, Catherine Keener, Vince Vaughn, and Kristen Stewart as people he meets on the road. A standout is Hal Holbrook as an aging widower whom McCandless coaxes out of his shell of loneliness.