Grief is a powerful emotion. It can lead to impulsive, radical behaviors.
In the new movie Land, Edee (Robin Wright) is so devastated with grief that she chooses to disappear from human society. She leaves Chicago for a cabin in a remote area of the Rockies, far away from people and civilization.
Her break is complete: in the small town where she lines up the cabin, she tosses her cell phone into a trash can. She asks the guy who leads her to her mountain home to send someone out to take her vehicle away.
She achieves the solitude she seeks in the gorgeous mountain setting but is unprepared to live alone in the rugged back country. Does she have a death wish? Is she naive like Chris McCandless, the subject of the book and movie Into The Wild?
Her grief centers around the loss of her husband and son. They appear in quick flashbacks and in the photos Edee lingers over. She still wears her wedding ring.
Amidst challenging weather, Edee collapses in her cabin and is found by a passing hunter. Miguel (Demian Bechar) summons a nurse Alawa (Sarah Dawn Pledge) who gives the dehydrated Edee an IV. And so begins Edee’s relationship with Miguel.
Her new friend offers to teach her to trap and hunt so she can survive by herself in the wild. Then, he tells her, “you’ll never see me again.”
No, the film does not become a Hallmark movie. But she does begin to enjoy his visits. When they sing Everybody Wants To Rule The World together in silhouette in the gathering dusk, it’s one of the film’s rare light moments.
Along with her deft acting in Land, the film’s marks Robin Wright’s directorial debut. She wisely allows the outdoor scenery to dominate the film’s visuals—dang, those mountainsides full of Aspen trees are stunning!—and keeps the pace moderated during the film’s few conversation scenes.
Land is a rather generic title for a movie that is more about emotions and human connections (and disconnections) than it is about the film’s setting. Yes, she yearns to live off the land but, even after telling Miguel and Alawa “I don’t want to be around people,” it becomes apparent that she does, in fact, appreciate human contact.
We all deal with grief in our own personal and various ways. Land is the story of one person facing grief in her chosen manner. Can it inform us about addressing grief in our own lives? I wouldn’t go that far. But Land might provide just a bit of solace.