Savannah Oakes’s review published on Letterboxd:
I was very disappointed, specifically with the first half of the film. The overall structure, which attempted to aid a very failing script, felt disconnected. Every time it got me to actually feel something it would cut away and it that moment would be lost.
When you hire someone like Reese Witherspoon who looks like a debutant and has almost always played lovable characters and tell her to wear a leather jacket and no makeup it doesn't make her a new person. This failure is partly due to the structure. We don't see her become this grungy chick physically, just see her do grunge-like things (i.e. drugs, clothing). Therefore as she's on this walk attempting to overcome her grief but also leave her troubled self behind, it is hard to empathize with her struggle because--though we see the results of her behavior--the actual events she goes through are thwarted by the quick edits. Every time she recalls something crucial it's split making her past self not seem lived in at all and thus making her journey feel meaningless.
Reese was fine. Laura Dern was delightful. It was a lot of heavy breathing and fake grunting. I felt like she was holding back a lot, but some of the lack in her performance could have been shaped better in editing.
The film did succeed in making me want to read the book, mainly just to see if she actually says anything insightful or moving because the film really didn't.