Picks and Pans Review: Into the Wild

updated 10/01/2007 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/01/2007 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Emile Hirsch, Catherine Keener, Hal Holbrook, William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden | R |

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Foolhardy brat or idealistic seeker? How you view Christopher McCandless (Hirsch) likely will determine how you respond to Into the Wild, director Sean Penn's heartfelt but meandering movie depicting the real-life journey of an alienated recent college grad who donated all his money to charity, cut off communication with his parents and headed for Alaska, where he starved to death in 1992. He learns too late—for him and many viewers—that total self-reliance isn't all it's cracked up to be.

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