As is most often the case, I would chose the book over the movie.
That said, the movie is good enough to put on your ‘to consider’ list. It’s certainly better than the previews make it out to be.
What it does particularly well is mix the journey that Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) has undertaken with flashbacks to earlier times in her life. So rather than just be a tale of her ‘trek’ on the Pacific Coast Trail, we’re presented with what is going on in Strayed’s mind, what is it about her past that has brought her to this journey.
What made the film problematic for me was that Strayed was played by a known actress, and I could not get over the feeling I was watching Witherspoon play Strayed. I often have that conundrum, but sometimes an actor or actress is able to totally become the character he/she is portraying. (Eddie Redmayne is a recent example in his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.)
Maybe I wanted to be seeing a documentary? Which is probably not fair to those who made Wild.
But then I doubt a documentary would have as wide a viewing as Wild is getting with Reese Witherspoon?
Still, I put Wild in the category of worthy films to see.
But the book’s better.