Free Solo


Directors Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

A fantastically compelling documentary about rock climber Alex Honnold and his quest to free climb El Capitan in Yosemite. The film is about much more than just extreme sports, as it intertwines the psychology and personal history of what makes Alex tick, and folds in his romantic relationship, the effects it has on his climbing and what that does to his girlfriend Sanni McCandless and their relationship.

Mr. Chin seemed to be the force behind capturing the climbing footage, and through interviews with him and other climbers who help Alex prepare for the climb and are on the production crew, we get a sense of what’s at stake for those who hope to capture the climb but are conflicted about how doing so may have a negative effect on Alex, with no margin for error. That the film can maintain its intensity and still not feel manipulative is a testament to how well it’s put together, perhaps due primarily to Ms. Vasarheyli co-directing, although it’s hard to parse which area each of the married directors oversaw.

Marco Beltrami’s score hits excellent cues and is emotionally spot on, and the cinematography by Chin, Clair Popkin and Mikey Schafer is rich and breathtaking. Must See