Free Solo, a Documentary

Jean Oshima
2 min readApr 1, 2023

If you haven’t seen the Academy Award winning National Geographic film, Free Solo yet, I’d strongly suggest you set aside some time and do so!

Nat Geo describes this masterpiece as “Both an edge-of-your seat thriller and an inspiring portrait of an athlete who exceeded our current understanding of human physical and mental potential”. But what really stands out for me is that this documentary is multi-dimensional. It’s not just an “intimate and unflinching portrait of the free soloist climber Alex Honnold, as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: climbing the face of the world’s most famous rock … the 3,000ft El Capitan in Yosemite National Park … without a rope”, and touted as “one of the greatest athletic feats of any kind”, but also an incredible feat in directing and filming. Not to mention the rocket science-level of planning and coordination that went into this film. (As a travel and events planner, I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around the accomplishments by the entire team!) Also, I’d argue this is not “one of the greatest athletic feats”, but THE greatest by one person. Bar none.

You will be gripped by this film. The human achievement alone is mind-blowing and one that may never be accomplished again. By anyone. Ever. But the story behind and during Alex’s climb is beyond fascinating. He clearly comes across as a genius. Which in itself is so interesting to me because how smart is the person that attempts to conquer the first free solo climb of famed El Capitan’s 900-metre vertical rock face?

I learned a great deal from this film. Rock climbing is a practice I knew nothing about prior to seeing this film. (Other than the time I took a group to the Azores and we did something called canyoning. That was scary at times and child’s play compared to this. Understatement.)

You’ll see why Vanity Fair critic, Richard Lawson, recommends seeing it on the biggest screen you can find. It’s streaming on Disney+, Hulu, and Amazon. You learn a lot about the film and watch the trailer here:

Originally published at JEAN OSHIMA.

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Jean Oshima

See my blog, 5 Heart Rating at http://jeanoshima.com I am a Wellness & Wine and Special Events Producer