Andrea’s Angle | “The Climb” Captures the Truths of Friendship
When I looked at the trailer for The Climb it emphasized the humorous side of a bad situation. Two friends and one confesses to having slept with the other fiancé. It looked intriguing with an interesting case. What I didn’t expect was the authentic and real way it portrayed friendships. Now, in this case, it’s two male friends but as a woman, I’ve had similar friends and so to me, it crosses the barrier into illustrating the ups and downs of friendship, both the good and the bad. There are humorous situations but the truths between the pair were what really resonated with me.
The Climb is a comedy-drama written, produced, and starring Michael Angelo Covino and Kyle Marvin. Michael Angelo Covino also directed with Gayle Rankin, Talia Balsam, George Wendt, and Judith Godréche also starring. The story revolves around two best friends, Mike (Michael Angelo Covino) and Kyle (Kyle Marvin). The two friends are out biking when Mike breaks the news that he’s sleeping with Kyle’s fiancé. The pair fight but it is an incident of road rage with a motorist that sends Mike to the hospital wherein the fiance, Ava (Judith Godréche) arrives to check on both men. In the confrontation, she ends up marrying Mike but unexpectedly dies soon after. As Kyle moves on with his life, Mike flounders, having no family but Kyle’s and few friends due to his terrible personality. Kyle tries to help him, the bond of friendship too strong for him to completely break off ties. Kyle and Mike struggle as Mike challenges Kyle’s relationship with his new fiancé and Kyle ultimately must decide if the friendship with Mike is worth the effort.
The film is billed as a comedy-drama and truly fits. The challenges within the friendship provide all the drama. As with most people, we all have friends that might not be the best person in our life, those people who are negative or hurt us in some way and this movie addresses one person’s answer to what to do in that situation. The film and the writing is honest, authentic, the friendship realistic in both the angry scenes as well as the funnier moments. The pair, Mike and Kyle, have been best friends their entire lives and when you have a best friend, not only is it harder to walk away whether you should or not, but you are willing to help them no matter what. As a friendship between two men, it is far more real than some on-screen bromances and in fact, feels like the opposite, what true friendship is, even when it is messy and complicated.
As for the comedy, it is the same struggles that provide comedic moments. Mike’s meltdowns are only one aspect. There are several scenes, moments with Kyle’s family as they whisper about his girlfriend, or when Kyle’s friends nab him for his bachelor party. Some of the comedy is awkward but like the drama, that’s because it springs from genuine moments we all have with family and friends. Even Marissa (Gayle Rankin), Kyle’s new fiancé and girlfriend has moments, like when she slugs Mike for being disruptive to an important moment. The comedy feels like real people living their lives, with the genuine moments of humor that come about between friends and family.
As for the acting, I really found both Kyle Marvin and Michael Angelo Covino have a beautiful dynamic between them. I would bet they are friends in real life as the friendship between the pair in the movie feels so real, even when they fight. I also like Gayle Rankin as Marissa. Her chemistry with Kyle is uneven but that is part of the reality of their relationship and her scenes with his family scream of their dislike for her and her frustration with Kyle’s controlling mother played by Talia Balsam. George Wendt does a low key but humorous job as Kyle’s father, especially when he deals with a drunken Mike at the family Christmas party. There was real thought put into the relationships and interactions between the actors and it shows.
While I love the story and the characters, what slowed down the movie were the times when the story or transitions were uneven. Some of the scenes end and begin with musical bits and while some make perfect sense and fit the scene, others seem out of place and cause the film to be uneven. Even in some of the scenes, there are places where bits could be cut to allow for a more streamlined and quicker pace which would help allow the comedic moments to shine more. Even so, the honest chemistry between the friends drives the film and is what makes it successful.
If you like credible friendships, full of both the flaws and positive aspects of having friends, then this might be one you’d like to check out. Even though some of the musical scenes are a bit odd, most of the movie is full of genuine humor and touching scenes between two men who don’t need to hide their feelings or lie to each other. True friendship, even with flaws, is hard to find and this film spotlights both the drama and comedy of friendship. I found it engaging, well-acted, and convincing.
Rating: 3.5 bikes out of 5
Website: The Climb | Sony Pictures Classics