Free Solo is a movie that sneaks up on you. It’s a National Geographic documentary so you might at first be like, “Meh. How entertaining will this possibly be?” But it’s extremely entertaining and thought provoking. Suffice it to say that at an utter fraction of the budget of the next film we saw, Bohemian Rhapsody, Free Solo has enough raw intensity and emotion to make ten rock bio-pics.
It actually took me a day or two to process everything I saw and experienced watching Free Solo. I won’t say more because I don’t want to give anything away. There is one Achilles heel in the film for me and it’s the portrayal of the main characters’ girlfriend. There is a lot of drama built up around her, suggesting she is a bad influence or some type of bad luck that for me is unnecessary. Attempting the ultimate free solo, i.e. climbing the face of El Capitan in Yosemite without the aid of ropes, seems like more than enough of an obstacle for drama. She does however suitably relieve the intensity of the climb preparation in comical scenes where they contrast one another. For example, the scene where they buy a house in Las Vegas is pretty classic. You see Alex Honnold for the wild man he is, eating food out of a pot with a wooden spoon and talking about how he would be happy to sleep on the floor.
If you take the time to watch this movie it’s something that will actually give back to you and enrich your life. There are not many movies you can say that about. And definitely catch it in the theater so you can truly appreciate the scale of this almost unimaginably epic undertaking.