YMMV / Into the Wild

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Some have no love for Chris, seeing him as nothing but a naive, arrogant idiot who walked into the Alaskan Wilderness with little knowledge on how to handle it.
  • Awesome Music: The soundtrack by Eddie Vedder is filled with beautiful tunes. "Long Nights" stands out and doubles as a Tearjerker.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Chris. He's condescending, hopelessly naive, inconsiderate, foolhardy, irrational, and irritatingly judgemental. His life back home, while surrounded by people who loved him, was shaky, he found out that his father was married to another woman and had a family with her and that his mother kept it a secret, he has immense trouble connecting with people, and he only realizes just how much he needs the people in his life after he has left them behind.
    • Chris's parents also, they're authoritarian, arrogant, snobbish and abusive to one another. But by the time Chris goes missing, they are seen truly desperate trying to find or get any news from their son. By the end of the movie they are shells of their former selves trying get a semblance of going on with their lives.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Several fans of the book and film have tried to emulate Chris' choices, probably because of the quasi-messianic archetype Chris is portrayed into; said fans tend to ignore his desperate (and unheard) cries for help as he realizes just how out of his depth he is, as well as his revelation on the importance of friends and family.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Pretty much a collection of these, as the film chronicles Chris' encounters with a variety of figures that he grows attached to, then leaves behind to continue his journey. Special mention should go to Hal Holbrook's Oscar-nominated turn.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Kristen Stewart as the hippie girl who tries to sleep with Chris.
  • Tear Jerker: Chris' slow and painful death.
    • His all-too-late realization that he wants to return to his friends and family, but the thawed stream prevents him from leaving. His last thoughts, too, are about his family, making him, in the end, a naive young guy who wanted to go home.
    • Long after losing contact with him, Chris' mother woke with a start one night, thinking she'd heard her son call out for help. Years later, when Chris' body was eventually found and his time of death estimated, she did the math and swears it was the very same night. In the film it shows her waking up and simply starting to cry.
    • The final goodbye between Chris and Ron Franz (see under The Woobie).
  • What an Idiot!: Frequent reaction from people who knew more about bushcraft than Chris and saw how unprepared he was for life in the Alaskan forest.
  • The Woobie: The character of Ron Franz, who is a lonely old retired man who lost his family in a car accident while he was off serving in the US Army. He comes to bond and care for Chris in the time that they grow to know each other, only for Chris to leave two months later. As an effort to keep Chris from leaving, Franz offers to adopt him as a grandson, noting that he doesn't have anyone else and that he's essentially the last living member of his family line. When Chris gently brushes this off by saying that they can talk about it after he returns from Alaska, the heartbreak Franz feels is readily apparent.