With fantastic energy, a rousing Alexandre Desplat score, two incredible central performances, and nifty documentary-esque use of archival footage/audio by the first-time narrative directors Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, Diana Nyad’s remarkable story of swimming from Cuba to Florida in her 60s is told. It’s the kind of extreme sports, crowd-pleasing, inspirational biopic formula that is focused on the individual more than the accomplishment in a way we love.
* Note – full spoilers in effect for entire episode *
Free Solo takes us on an intimate and intense journey with National Geographic’s 2018 Adventurer of the Year, rock climber Alex Honnold, as he prepares for and attempts to become the first person to ever free solo climb Yosemite National Park’s 3,200 foot high El Capitan wall. In this episode, Aaron briefly reviews the film and chats with Alex Honnold to learn more about his famous climb, lifestyle, and (of course) what kind of movies he likes best.
Alex: “Look, I don’t wanna fall off and die either, but there’s a satisfaction to challenging yourself and doing something well. That feeling is heightened when you’re for sure facing death. You can’t make a mistake. If you’re seeking perfection, free soloing is as close as you can get.”
Aaron White is a Seattle-based film critic and co-creator/co-host of the Feelin’ Film Podcast. He is also a member of the Seattle Film Critics Society. He writes reviews with a focus on the emotional experience he has with a film. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to be notified when new content is posted.