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Title: The Climb, Directed by Bob Swaim, Written by Vince McKewin ("Fly
Away Home"), Executive Produced by Mark McClafferty, Robert Réa,
Produced by Pamela Edwards McClafferty, Mark McClafferty, Tom Parkinson
The Climb is a movie that comes around every once in a while. I am utterly shocked it did not get a wide release in theaters. I'm glad I found it, thank goodness for DVDs nowadays.
The Climb has everything you would want from a good, classic movie. It has action, drama, humor, stellar acting, and a strong message. It's the type of movie that stays with you long after you watch it.
In Baltimore 1959, Danny (Gregory Smith of TV's Everwood) dreams of climbing a tower to prove his bravery. His father Earl (Goodnight & Good luck's David Strathairn) did not enlist in the war so he is shunned by the town as the coward. Subsequently, Danny befriends Old Chuck Langer (John Hurt, in one of his finest performances) who has come home to try and find a way to die.
It is this friendship where they each learn from each other the meaning of courage. The film asks the question, what is bravery and courage and how is it defined for each man. It really gets you to think.
I was surprised how Gregory Smith was so young in this! You can really see why he became the star he is today. He is so good in this! If you are a fan of Smith like I am, you definitely have to check out The Climb.
Singer and actress Marla Sokoloff (from Whatever It Takes with James Franco and Shane West) is Smith's sister in this. She looks so different from the teen movies I watched her in. My favorite part with her is when she meets the town bully. She is awesome!!! The Climb is a movie for everyone. Kids will like watching Gregory pull hijinks and pranks with his friend. When he climbs that HIGH tower, it really gets your heart racing! John Hurt and David are at the top of their game. Each man is on a journey of defining courage for themselves.
The story has a message everyone can take something from. And those are the best movies in my opinion. I highly recommend The Climb.
I am in general agreement with my fellow reviewers: despite the predictability of much of the story, the acting was well done overall & the story was plausible. John Hurt is always a pleasure to watch; David Strathairn reminded me a lot of a younger Sam Waterston. I found the climactic rescue scene very unsettling, and that's a tribute to the actors, since they (more than the special effects) conveyed the danger of the situation. I had never heard of this film before I saw it, so I had no big expectations--my formula for being pleasantly surprised.
While some aspects of the plot of "The Climb" may be predictable, this
is a character film and the characters are well drawn and well acted.
The lead actor, the young Gregory Smith, is especially excellent in the
role of a seemingly typical youth of 1959, eager to display his courage
in a typical escapade of boys his age: the climbing of a decommissioned
radio tower to compete with other kids in the Baltimore neighborhood
where the story is set. He is complemented by veteran actor John Hurt
as a crusty old neighbor who seeks solace in drink until Gregory's
"12-year-old" character comes into his life via an arrow through his
window! The two become pals of sorts as Hurt helps young Gregory in his
aim to be the first kid to climb the rusty tower, slated for demolition
soon. This time-is-of-the-essence element moves the story along as it
is also part of Hurt's dying character. This is what keeps the
vignettes of 50s America and side lines of the peripheral characters in
proper scope and duration. Perhaps the most multilevel performance is
that of Gregory's father played by David Stratharin, a man of evident
decentness in his portrayal, and, one would think from this, in his
personal life as well.
Gregory Smith went on to other films, and is perhaps best known in the TV series "Everwood", but he is at his most attractive and engaging in this role in "The Climb." Dave Stratharin has done many fine performances as his page on this site makes clear, but this is one of his most nuanced roles as others have noted. We could have done without the boobs scene between Hurt's daughter-in-law and the priest, but I suppose it was supposed to lighten up a rather sober story line, and with its omission, this is a also a good film for kids. This flick is neither high drama nor a laugh fest, and it may not be a classic, but it is thoroughly enjoyable as the rich character study it is.
thoughtful, lucid direction with oodles of gentle, good humor smartly mixed up with some pre-adolescent raucousness and nope, not even a touch of smarminess or condescension. What could be better than that?
I disagree completely with Sweedy regarding the plot. I found the plot to be very plausible. The character studies were very well laid out, and the movie worked well enough for me to rate it very highly. I could relate very well to everything in the movie, including wanting to climb a tower in my neighborhood when I was younger. Perhaps one needs to understand the setting for this film to understand the movie completely. The people that made this movie did a great job of capturing the feel of the era, and wove the story and the characters into a very memorable film.
Some fine performances grace this completely predictable drama of a young
boy who wants to climb a soon-to-be-demolished local radio tower to prove
his bravery and counteract the undercurrent of shame thrown at his father
the community for not being in either WWII or the Korean War.
The boy befriends an adult neighbor's crotchety father, who is dying of lung cancer but helps the boy try to realize his dream. When a crisis looms in the film's climax, the boy finds out how brave his father really is.
As the gruff-but-only-on-the-outside dying man, John Hurt flirts dangerously with hamminess, but still holds your attention in the film's showiest role. The boy is very good, but David Strathairn as the father gives the best performance. It's a typical Strathairn role - the seeming milquetoast who isn't one in the end - but his acting lifts the role out of the commonplace by giving us the reserves of strength and shades of character within an "ordinary" man. Few actors can portray simple goodness and decency as well as Strathairn can, and still make the characters seem human and interesting.
As for the film, you've seen this kind of story many times before - usually on TV.
Gregory Smith is a youngster who has a goal to climb to the top of a very tall radio tower. He befriends an old man, John Hurt, whose goal is to die. Together they cooperate in order to reach their objectives. There is a subplot involving David Strathairn, the boy's father, who is perceived as a coward, because he didn't fight in World War 2. This simple story is well told, with good character development, and fine acting. This is a little beyond typical family entertainment, and more suited to adult audiences. The climactic climb is exciting, and in the end, not only are everyone's goals accomplished, but some important lessons are learned. - MERK
I'm very sorry Mr. Jacobs found this movie so dismal, and incorrect. I
for one found it very much a portrayal of what life was like in the
late 50's and early 60's, at least for me, and my brother. Of course,
we can't really speak to what Baltimore looked like since we lived in
Philadelphia, but I really didn't tune this in because I expected it to
be a documentary of Maryland landscape in '58 or '59, so maybe I missed
something. England never much looked like what we saw in Sweeney Todd
either, but what can you say?
As for the plot, I was thrilled. The story line has been described at length by others, so I won't waste the space on that. I did find a couple of scenes so riveting that I'll never lose them. The first was John Hurt describing the effect of absolute exhaustion and searing heat being assuaged by a Argentine lady sliding an ice cold beer across the bar to him. Having worked many an hour in the sun out near Barstow, CA in the summer, I could truly understand and appreciate the imagery of that dialogue with no extra effort at all.
The next was the scene where Strathairn's character has had enough of the neighborhood drunk firing his weapon into the sky in the middle of the night and walks across the street and clocks him good. A good man, pushed to the limit, can't take any more and does something about it. Well acted, and very tense exchange between the two men. And Mr. Jacobs? You think that 13 years was enough time that everyone would have forgotten a "draft dodger" and let it go? Think again. It damn sure would have been a roadblock for the little boy to play on the VFW sponsored baseball team.
My favorite scene of this movie though, with no doubt, was watching the look on the kids face when the apparatus Hurt designed begins to haul his little body up the inside of the tower in a flash. Man that was something, you could almost feel the wind in your own hair and watch the ground recede below you.
We had a similar dare target where I grew up. A huge natural gas line spanned a river, and the dare was to walk across it without using your hands to hold on to the guy wires. Up to the time we moved from there (1967) no one ever had. Maybe that's why this one resonated so deeply with me.
I thought it was wonderful, with just enough surprises and laughter to make it not too heavy, which it damn sure could have been.
I think this is one of those hidden gems that make you just delighted you stumbled across. I'm glad I saw this, and have it in my DVD library.
While a little old, I've heard this movie is being released again on the 21st of August. I was lucky enough to see it the first time around and WOW, what a great film! This film chronicles the life of people in 1950's Baltimore after WWII. I have to say that it does a good job of showing what life was like back then. The acting is great and it includes many actors who have since become larger names such as Gregory Smith, the star of Everwood, and Sarah Buxton. I would recommend this movie to people of all ages. It definitely has something for everyone and is very entertaining. While not an action film, the superb acting, character development, and complex plot make this a film that will withstand the test of time. It's definitely worth hunting down or buying!
I saw this film at a friend's house on satellite television, and I have to
say, the story isn't one of the better ones I've heard. Just look at
12-year-old Danny (Gregory Smith) is tracked, because his father didn't join the Korea War. To proof, that he is just as brave as normal kids, he tries to climb a 60 meters tall radio tower....
What a story, huh? But I was impressed how the actors made this film viewable to the bitter (!) end, especially Gregory Smith, he is a wonderful kid actor!
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