Free Solo, rated PG-13
Free Solo is an Oscar nominated documentary about professional adventure rock climber Alex Honnold, who successfully climbed the imposing, nearly vertical 3,200-foot granite formation El Capitan in Yosemite National Park on June 3, 2017. Incredibly, Honnold climbs the imposing wall without any climbing equipment (ropes, etc.), which is known as free soloing. The film is directed by Jimmy Chin (Meru) and wife Elizabeth Chai Vasarhely (Meru), who along with the film’s producers Evan Hayes and Shannon Dill, received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature for the film.
Honnold, now 33 years old, tells us that he is a loner and has lived in a van for nine years. We see a family photo of him climbing a wall, and hear that he started at a climbing gym at the age of 5. His parents divorced during his first year of college and he dropped out after that year. He comes across as driven, relationally distant, and yet likeable. Alex has had girlfriends, but honestly states that he will always choose climbing over girls. In this film, we meet a girlfriend, the likeable Sanni McCandless, who meets Alex at a book signing. (McCandless is now a “transition coach for outdoor-focused individuals who want to create more tailored, intentional lifestyles and find agency in their own lives”). In the film, Alex is never able to give Sanni what she truly needs in a healthy relationship – her expectations of him are met with disappointment. Maybe because growing up he never heard the world “love” nor was he ever hugged. Continue reading