Parents' Guide to

The Climb

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Lots of poor behavior in cinematic tale of toxic friendship.

Movie R 2021 98 minutes
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Two real-life best pals explore the dark side of friendship with this impressively cinematic feature filmmaking debut that deftly combines loony humor with deeply ingrained human fears and anxiety. Written by both Covino and Marvin and directed by Covino, The Climb begins with an amazing long-take sequence featuring both men on bikes, marrying the emotional content of their dialogue with the physical environment around them, all in what appears to be a single, seamless take. Things continue with another single take, an acrobatic Thanksgiving sequence that transitions flawlessly into a Christmas sequence.

Each of the movie's seven sequences plays like a little episode, and the span of time between each is uncertain; the men gain and lose weight, and their facial hair changes. But sometimes odd humor kicks in, such as their surprising number of clumsy little brawls, with grappling, grunting, and kicking. Sometimes The Climb takes a break from reality, as when four men in a graveyard break the fourth wall and sing "I Shall Not Be Moved" in beautiful harmony. But, mostly, the movie is about the slow, terrible balance between trust and betrayal and about how even platonic love can be toxic (it's the opposite of a "bromance").

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