I am a sucker for movies based on true stories. I actually didn't know that this one was based on Eric LeMarque's story when I pulled it up in my queue on Hulu. Eric LeMarque is a former hockey player who got involved in drugs and spiraled out of control. He had to lose his way to find it again. His story is heart wrenching, fascinating, and inspiring.
The movie stars Josh Hartnett and Mira Sorvino who plays Eric's heartbroken, faith-driven mother who only wants to see her son have hope again. Josh Hartnett as Eric is convincing as a drug addict who only cares about the adrenaline rush which is why he's addicted to snowboarding as well as meth.
LeMarque gets trapped on a mountain in the Sierras for eight days after getting lost in a whiteout while snowboarding. That's where the main scope of this story starts, and while I really liked Hartnett's portrayal, the mountain scenes went on a bit longer than necessary, in my opinion. There were long minutes of watching him crawl through snow, and I would rather have seen more of his mother. When she came into the picture, determined to find her missing son, the story really picked up.
Much of LeMarque's childhood is told in flashbacks, and it's his determination not to fail, brought on by his father's constant demands, that pushes him to survive while his body is dying. Hartnett's acting is spot-on as a man who is alone on the mountain in frigid weather with no one to talk to. He manages to overcome fear and loneliness and detox from a powerful drug while drawing on strength reserves he probably didn't even know he had.
There are few secondary characters in the movie which is a shame. I would have loved to have seen more of LeMarque's story before his time on the mountain, and his interaction with others would have given the story more to work with.
In a lot of ways, 6 Below reminded me of Castaway with snow. There are a lot of scenes that lag, but they didn't lead me to turn off the movie early. I watched through to the end and was able to see the real Eric LeMarque's new life after nearly dying on the mountain. He's making the most of his life now, and for that reason, I do recommend this movie if you enjoy inspirational journeys of overcoming addiction and survival in the darkest of circumstances.
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