Though technically based on the true story of Nadir Dendoune, this is only in a very loose sense. Indeed, the main character's name, age, ethnicity, relations and entire motivation for wanting to climb to the top of Mount Everest were changed for the film. In fact, writer/director Ludovic Bernard never read the book which the film purports to adapt. See more »
Warm-hearted story which probably doesn't need any surprises
With his on-off romance with Nadia going nowhere, Samy promises to prove his love to her by climbing Everest. It's not the normal thing to do for a young Senegalese-French guy from a deprived Parisian suburb. Particularly since he's never climbed anything higher than the stairs to the top of his apartment block. But with unexpected determination, he first finds a tour package (at 40,000) and then even more unexpectedly gets the financial backing of a local radio station.
On his arrival on Kathmandu, things look bleak. Samy has packed some pretty inappropriate things, it's quickly apparent that he knows nothing and the group leader seems brusque and unsympathetic. But he does find a kindred spirit in Johnny le sherpa, and he does seem to manage to keep smiling. Will that be enough?
The film executes its simple formula beautifully. Anything that is lacking in nuance is made up for by the film's warm heart. All the acting is strong, particularly from Ahmed Sylla as Samy and Umesh Tamang as Johnny and the relationships feel believable. Apart from a few references to pot smoking, this is a good family movie.
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