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Film Review: “The Climb” (2019)

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classic

Rating: 4 out of 5.

How do we often define friendship? Normally, true friendship is when we share laughter and tears with those who we trust the most. But what we don’t want to do during that process, or avoid doing is going after a friend’s girlfriend or fiancé. Not because it’s morally wrong but because it’s fundamentally unacceptable. However, the chain events that take us to that particular moment and what happens afterward is the most surreal thing to happen and miraculously told by Michael Angelo Covino’s “The Climb”.

Mike (Michael Angelo Covino) and Kyle (Kyle Marvin) adore each other as friends. They cycle together, laugh together, and even get angry together. Pretty much, they represent the brand of friendship you would expect to see in two people. Things change when Mike suddenly confesses to Kyle that he is in love with his fiancé, Ava (Judith Godreche), and from that moment on their friendship is put to test on every level that spans over many years. They will share the feelings of heartbreak, loss, love, betrayal, and disappointment as they climb the stairs of life that are full of ups and downs.

When the film begins, we find two friends cycling as they talk about their life. Mike, whom you won’t even know whether to love or despise as his character gets developed much deeper, is very straightforward. He comes across right away as a straight shooter when he tells his best friend Kyle, “if you plan to get married to Ava, you should know that I have slept with her. And our relationship continued even when you were dating her.” That kind of confession would force any person to get mad, however, Kyle’s steely nerve handles that. Eventually, he won’t get married to Ava who, instead, ties the knot with Mike as she was in love with him too.

Broken down in parts, we learn that Mike’s wife, Ava, dies unexpectedly. How she dies won’t be revealed at all. But as the story unfolds, it won’t matter anymore as the triadic relationship of the two men chasing one woman never ends in “The Climb”. And that’s the beauty of this romantic drama that gives you that much-needed glimpse of the lives of two men who literally get together, break up, and get back together again no matter how many surprises await them along their tremulous journey filled with rage, anger, and love. Surprisingly, all of that strangely turns into a beautiful story of how two individuals navigate their journey as weeks turn into months and months into years. Nothing stands the test of time except their strong bond that is willing to destroy anything coming its way.

“The Climb” is not just a story of two friends, in fact, it’s a story of real-life best friends that turn their profound connection in the most subtle way possible. The screenplay by Michael Angelo Covino and Kyle Marvin and directed by Michael Angelo Covino himself is a true gift to anyone who likes watching challenging indie films that could not be easier to watch. It does not overload or offers unnecessary details. Covino, as a skillful wrestler, nails every scene as a director ensuring that “The Climb” does not slide down the road. As a matter of fact, the film offers an interesting look at where the two end up by unwillingly gambling with life that is as precious as it gets as you follow them throughout.

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