Land is the directorial debut of Robin Wright and stars Robin Wright as ‘Edee’, a woman who travels into the wilderness of Wyoming after closing herself off from society after experiencing trauma. As she learns what life is like having to survive on your own in harsh conditions, Edee gets help in unexpected places and learns that genuine connections are the secret to living.
The story is a familiar “triumph of the human spirit” story where a singular character is brought out of their own depression through connecting with nature and others. We saw this with Reese Witherspoons ‘Wild’ or with the recent film ‘Nomadland’ starring Francis McDormand. While ‘Land’ has a more formulaic story arc there are still incredible shots of the Wyoming plains, terrific acting from Wright and Demián Bichir.
Directing wise- the film plays it very safe with a somewhat unimaginative approach. Robin Wright is impressive in how well she is able to keep the pace and tone of the story, which since this is her first time directing I’d say she should be proud of. She also gives a powerful and introspective performance as a woman who has tried everything to experience grief, and her struggle to basically live on the ‘land’ to survive.
When Edee is close to completely losing herself, another backwoodsman ‘Miguel’ (Demián Bichir) finds her and is able to teach Edee how to live in the wilderness. I think Demián Bichir gave a great performance as well and I’d like to see him in more films after this.
The story’s theme of overcoming grief is strong in the beginning but meanders in the third act, which feels unbalanced compared to the second act. I wish there was more to ‘Land’s’ conclusion that made it more satisfying.
Overall, ‘Land’ is a traditional film that might not stand the test of time as far as uniqueness, but it’s well directed, has strong performances, and has a strong message anyone can relate to.