The Wilds is so much more than a story about the modern-day young woman at their worst struggling to survive… It’s an ode to the strength, resourcefulness, and tenacity of women who are thrust into a trial by fire that will, likely, reveal that their biggest threat isn’t the impending doom facing them on the desolate island where they lay stranded, but rather the everyday pressure waiting for them back home.
A group of nine high schoolers get sent on an all female retreat to beautiful Hawaii. Forced to go by their parents, these young ladies are assured that they will find their inner-woman on this trip and be all the better for it. En route, their plane experiences extreme turbulence and is forced to do an emergency water landing in the ocean– luckily near a desolate island where they will wait for the rescue that is sure to come, but… The Dawn of Eve waits for no man…
Now, to be honest, I’m a man. I understand that there is much about this narrative I will not understand intimately, not having been a teenage girl myself. My struggles and pressures were very different from those experienced by my female peers. After watching The Wilds this became even more clear and, though I connected with some of the characters, there were definitely some whose experiences were completely foreign to me. With that in mind I decided to watch and consult with an expert in the matter, my wife and she felt that this show captured teenage girls exceptionally well, in particular the writers’ ability to depict a broad spectrum of women.
The Wilds starts out a bit bumpy, the first episode being the most difficult to get through. Once you get passed it, however, the show only gets better. The writers clearly had a plan on where they were going as well as what was a priority to them. They chose to tackle the story in chapters; every episode changing perspectives from one girl to the next, capturing each of their experiences on the island while, within their respective episode, showing us their backstory. Who they were before the island, what their struggles, flaws, and strengths are, and how they got here. This allows the creators to tackle so many real issues facing women daily. Love, sacrifice, parenting, guilt, drive, self-harm, and the ever taboo, female sexuality, among others.
I found myself drawn in episode-by-episode, wanting to quickly move on to the next one. Reminiscent of Lord of the Flies, you can’t help but worry about how the group will deteriorate as each member seems to lose a grip of who they are with each passing day.
My biggest struggle with the show was in needing to buy the motives of the people who are responsible for everything that happens to these girls. You quickly find out they are not here by accident, which adds some mystery so you welcome it at first but later on, when you discover the reason behind the entire “retreat”, you find yourself having a harder time accepting it. The method outweighed the cause. Luckily, the other elements of the show are strong enough to still make this a great experience.
Lastly, I want to give props to our cast. Every actor delivering strong performances that must have been quite challenging to deliver. All of them endearing at times, all quite unlikeable other times. Special shoutout to Helena Howard who, as Nora, became my favorite character in the show hands down. Every actor, however, carried the show at one time or another.
An absolute must watch! Like I said before, make sure you get through that first episode– you won’t regret it. Fair warning, the second episode features the person who is, likely, the most unlikeable character in all 10 episodes but, trust me, there’s an arc there and, hate it or love it, the character is authentic. 7.5/10
The Wilds premieres on Amazon Prime Video on Dec. 11th so make your calendars and get some tissues ready… just in case.
Born in Puerto Rico but raised in a combination of the island, Boston and upstate New York. This guy’s accent shifts depending on his mood, as does his sense of style. If you don’t understand him sometimes, don’t feel bad, neither do we.
Having studied film in Florida, with a focus on writing and directing, and having worked on many projects of all sizes and scope, Raul has a well rounded understanding of cinema. He is also a huge fan of American Football and believes Tom Brady to be the indisputable G.O.A.T.