The Wilderness of James starts out like your classic festival film that might never see the light of day again. About a troubled kid, James (Smit-McPhee), who keeps a diary documenting the deaths of insects inside the family home. For 20 minutes the film is something of struggle before it very quickly and very confidently steps outside its comfort zone, really coming alive.
Meeting musician Harmon (Ross) on the bus on a late night ride to nowhere, and a captivating girl (Fuhrman) in the waiting room of his psychiatrist’s (DeVito) office, the film follows James’s wild ride of self discovery and really benefits from building out his character. The final 10 minutes prove difficult again but what comes in between is exciting and unexpected, symbolising the excitement and difficulty of discovering who you are.