Documentary Recommendation: Free Solo (2018)

Quote by Alex Honnold from Free Solo

I think it’s the best thing in life to be able to take the one thing you love the most and have it, like, work out that you can make a living that way.”

free solo

Executive Producers: Tim Pastore, Matt Renner, Carson Hood, Laurie MacDonald, Stefan Sonnenfeld, and Walter F. Parkes

Directors: Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelvi

 Cast: Alex Honnold, Tommy Caldwell, Jimmy Chin, Cheyne Lempe, Mikey Schaefer, Sanni McCanless, Dierde Wolownick, Peter Croft

Cast as Archive Footage: John Bachar, Derek Hersey, Sean Leary, Dan Osman, and Dean Potter

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language

Running Time: 1 hour and 40 minutes


This documentary is about Alex Honnold, a free solo climber, who scales rocks for a living.  As one’s upbringing affects most people when they become adults, Alex is no different.  His mother left an impression on him where the brightest is only the best.  He was not short of intelligence as he was accepted into Berkeley for civil engineering, but university life wasn’t for him.  He dropped out and lived frugally out of his van until it broke down and bought another one in 2007.  This was the start of his climbing endeavors where he free soloed Yosemite’s Astroman and Rostrum that same year.  In 2012, he was interviewed by 60 Minutes and set a new record for climbing a part of El Capitan.  After he made the decision to free solo El Capitan in 2017, you watch how his mental ability and physical prowess support and betray him.  You find out the results of his MRI and the dangers free soloing El Capitan.  If he succeeds, he will be the first.  If he fails, he will fall and die.  While he clearly spends a lot of time at Yosemite as he’s climbed El Cap, Half Dome, and Mt. Watkins, it only takes one misstep to ruin his day.  He’s an interesting athlete and his nomadic way of life suits him.   It’s a mesmerizing entry into a part of Alex’s life.  I learned more about rock climbing and Yosemite.

I rate Free Solo Four Fingers and One Thumb.

Near Perfect at 97%.




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