No Strings Attached: “Free Solo” Review

Alex Honnold Free Solo

There is a ringing sense of pressure that comes from living life on the edge. Few people prefer life on that edge–but Alex Honnold, rock climbing subject of the National Geographic documentary Free Solo, he likes to hold on by his fingertips. No strings attached.

Free Solo is a visual masterpiece, displaying the terrifying heights of the Yosemite Valley and the stunning reality of one man’s mission to conquer. To accomplish a “free solo” climb means rock climbing without a rope or fellow climber assisting you.  Honnold’s friends, fans, and loved ones went pale as he became the first person to free solo the infamous El Capitan granite wall.

From the workouts in Honnold’s impromptu house-van, to the very face of El Capitan itself, eyewitnesses and audiences feel their hair stand watching the ascent. Where there is a whole world of worry surrounding him, Alex shrugs the fear off to focus on satisfying his spirit high above the ground.

Honnold looks at the climb with a gritting idea: “It’s perfection, or death.” Although the near vertical ascent upward is a solo event, the film proves that even the most stubborn of perfectionists benefits from organic support.  Free Solo tells a story of the cost of human achievement, and celebrates what is gained by following the narrow path towards one’s goal.

Truly this is not just Alex’s climb; it is also the worlds’. Yosemite is a bit far from Orange County, but you can still face the fear of heights close to home. Catch Free Solo at Edwards Aliso Viejo Stadium or Edwards Irvine Spectrum while it is still screening.

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Jordy Espinoza

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