The Dawn Wall

2018 • 100 minutes
100 reviews
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About this movie

In January, 2015, American rock climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson captivated the world with their effort to climb the Dawn Wall, a seemingly impossible 3,000 foot rock face in Yosemite National Park, California. The pair lived on the sheer vertical cliff for weeks, igniting a frenzy of global media attention. But for Tommy Caldwell, the Dawn Wall was much more than just a climb. It was the culmination of a lifetime defined by overcoming obstacles. At the age of 22, the climbing prodigy was taken hostage by rebels in Kyrgyzstan. Shortly after, he lost his index finger in an accident, but resolved to come back stronger. When his marriage fell apart, he escaped the pain by fixating on the extraordinary goal of free climbing the Dawn Wall. Blurring the line between dedication and obsession, Caldwell and his partner Jorgeson spend six years meticulously plotting and practicing their route. On the final attempt, with the world watching, Caldwell is faced with a moment of truth. Should he abandon his partner to fulfill his ultimate dream, or risk his own success for the sake of their friendship?

Ratings and reviews

100 reviews
Edward Rackley
November 30, 2021
Wall, shmall. This movie is about something else, more timeless and essential: the imperative of putting others first. Success of the group is always greater than individual glory. These guys show how powerful that mindset can be. A near-extinct ethos in morally bankrupt, 'winner take all' USA. So much amazing detail, deliberate and accidental, noted and left in by the directors makes every moment a multi-layered visual and expressive feast. Just the sequencing of the narrative and how it builds backstory into the climb as it unfolds was genius alone. Sure everyone loves Free Solo but to me this story/film is far FAR better on so many levels. I watched it straight through, then started it again immediately. Never done that with a film. So much to chew on in each scene, visually, conceptually and yes, emotionally.
A Google user
March 29, 2019
Absolutely great movie. Well written, well-edited. And the story? Well, it will push you to the edge, literally. For non-climbers, this movie might seem the portrait of climbing geeks, people that sacrifices their life just to go one step further. But this is the point. Humans did not achieve anything without pushing one step further. Non-clibers will learn a lot about the mental state needed for climbing. |I think even the most experienced climber will be amazed at this movie, and at the history of these extraordianry individuals. Finally, the humility and self-control of these characters are inspiring, and this message goes well beyond the small community of elite climbers.
John Castro
November 23, 2018
Went to Yosemite for the first time just last week and watched this movie last night. Seeing the Dawn Wall in person and then seeing the movie makes their achievement even more awesome. I remember following their climb while it happened, but it was great to see the events as they unfolded. Great work to both! I understand it was Tommy's vision to climb the Dawn Wall and thus the movie was focused on him, but it would've been great to learn a bit more about Kevin. Overall, super inspiring and incredible what they accomplished.