Parents' Guide to

The Last Mountain

By Danny Brogan, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Emotional climbing docu explores grief, human achievements.

Movie R 2022 107 minutes
The Last Mountain poster

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Despite its subject matter -- the death of two climbers, a mother and son, 24 years apart -- this British documentary is a celebration of life and human accomplishments. That's not to say that The Last Mountain won't have you reaching for the tissues. The phone call between Kate Ballard and her father, Jim, where she explains that a body -- presumed to be Tom -- has been found, is particularly hard viewing. But just as impactful is the joyful footage of Kate and Tom as kids and of Tom's gradual development into one of the world's best climbers.

The final third of the film loses some of its momentum and perhaps could have been cut by 15 to 20 minutes. Too much time is spent relaying the messages both Tom and his fellow climber Daniele Nardi sent to social media shortly before their deaths. The purpose of this is surely to show how determined both men were. But at no point had their lack of ambition ever been questioned, and the fact that their fates are laid out from the beginning means there's no mystery as to what's going to happen. The suggestion that Nardi was in some way responsible for their deaths also feels a bit unfair, particularly as there's little opportunity given to those who might argue differently. These gripes aside, this is a powerful and at times heartbreaking documentary that highlights both the power of nature as well as that of humankind.

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