The Eight Mountains review — A gorgeous, lyrical film about friendship

Directed by Felix van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch | Written by  van Groeningen and Vandermeersch, adapting the novel by Paolo Cognetti | 147 min | ▲▲▲▲△ | Carbon Arc Cinema 

Two 11-year-old boys meet when one, who lives in Turin, spends summers in Grana, near Asti, Italy, in the Italian Alps. It’s astonishingly beautiful there, and the film is shot framing the characters against breathtaking landscapes. As teenagers, they cross paths but don’t connect. It isn’t until they’re adults and mountaineer Bruno (Alessandro Borghi) and writer Pietro (Luca Marinelli) are both distanced from their (shared) father figures that they bond over the shared dream of building a cabin up on the mountain. Something from their friendship as children is reignited, and the film follows their relationship, its ebbs and flows, over seasons and years.

At its core is this warm, sometimes difficult, but always affecting connection between these two very different men — drawn together by a shared passion for life and this place and, maybe, something they can’t quite articulate. As a tale of brotherly love, this picture doesn’t have many peers. The only minor gripe I have with it is the Academy Ratio, the screen frame of 4:3. I see the argument for it in films like Godland, Son of Saul, or even The Grand Budapest Hotel, but here I think the wider screen might’ve brought more of the epic to a film that has plenty of the intimate.

About the author


Carsten Knox is a massive, cheese-eating nerd. In the day he works as a journalist in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At night he stares out at the rain-slick streets, watches movies, and writes about what he's seeing.