In 1977, a 27-year-old woman named Robyn Davidson walked 2,700 kilometres across the Australian desert, accompanied only by her dog and four camels that she trained to carry her gear. She wrote her story, first for National Geographic, which funded her trek, and later in a book, Tracks, which became an international cult hit. This movie, starring Mia Wasikowska as Davidson, does exactly what it’s supposed to do: It takes you deep inside her journey, both physically (you can feel the sand on your skin) and psychically. The film opens with a quote from Davidson, admitting that she travelled because she felt at home nowhere – which makes her a perfect fit with Wasikowska, an actress who reveals a lot on screen, yet always keeps part of herself stubbornly private. By the end, you not only feel you’ve gone somewhere hugely worthwhile, you’re also left marvelling, like Davidson, at why people choose to cling to unhappy lives rather than shake them off and search for something else.
At VIFF: Oct. 6, 9 p.m., Centre in Vancouver for the Performing Arts; Oct. 9, 1 p.m., Playhouse