The CinEmma: Free Solo

February 13, 2019

Following Alex Honnold in his year-long training and 3 hour, 57 minute climb of El Capitan, “Free Solo” is a documentary that has been nominated for five awards including the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary.

 

Alex Honnold was the first person to free solo El Capitan, a half mile tall wall of granite in Yosemite Valley. Free soloing is a method of climbing that does not use any ropes or safety equipment, relying solely on the climber’s ability to prevent him from falling to his death.

 

The movie combines intimate shots of Honnold during his mental and physical preparation with epic cinematography to capture his historic ascent. The sheer terror of seeing Honnold on the wall with nothing but air for thousands of feet below him keeps the audience on the edge of its seats.

 

However, Honnold himself was slightly off-putting to some.

 

Aiyana Bolar, who gave the movie an 8.5/10, said, “I didn’t like how mean he was to his girlfriend who was just trying to support him. Honestly, I think he’s a sociopath. Maybe he just doesn’t know how to show his emotions, but I just wish he was more loving towards her.”

 

Overall, the movie is interesting and has some moments that will steal your breath, but there are several parts that feel like they are simply there to pad the run time, and some people might find Alex’s personality unpleasant.

 

Free Solo shows in IMAX at select theaters.

 

Alex Honnand climbing El Capitan

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