Review: ELEVATION CHANGE Is Shallow But Not Below Sea Level


Well-made yet conventional, Elevation Change tells the inspiring story of a man trying to accomplish an amazing feat despite the obstacles he faces.
Entertainment Value
Technical Merit

Elevation Change, directed by Marion Mauran, is the latest documentary to chronicle an amazing athlete on their quest to achieve an unbelievable and record-breaking feat. Although the documentary already reached what was likely its peak last year, this is nonetheless a pretty inspiring and fascinating tale of perseverance.

The story of the film focuses on athlete Sam Fox as he sets out to break the speed record hiking the Pacific Crest Trail to raise $250,000 for Parkinson’s research in honor of his mother Lucy. Audiences have a tendency to gravitate towards extraordinary stories like this because they are things that many people dream of doing, but are held back from doing for some reason or another. This movie challenges viewers to not let obstacles hold them back.

Early in his journey, Fox faces a setback that threatens to derail his entire plan. This, combined with the fact that another hiker is competing at the same time to break the same record, shows that Fox had a tremendous amount of perseverance in sticking with his goal. One of the most inspiring things said by the film is that if Fox can hike fifty miles in one day with all of these things holding him back, maybe the goals everyone sets for themselves shouldn’t be so intimidating after all.

However, the movie does a very good job of showing Fox’s humanity. Although he is setting out with a hugely ambitious goal and a very noble cause, he is not perfect in any way. The film isn’t afraid to show some of his more negative personality characteristics which come to light when Fox is worried about whether or not he will be able to achieve his goal.

elevation change trail
Courtesy of Cecily Mauran/St. Christopher Studio.

Some of the most interesting parts of the movie feature Fox interacting with his friends who are assisting him on his endeavor by preparing his rest areas. These moments are the most emotional in the film as they show the dedication that Fox has to his values despite the toll that it is taking on him physically and mentally.

That said, after a while, the movie does begin to drift into monotony. Even though Fox’s story is undeniably very inspiring, it is similar to others that have been seen on screen before. Unfortunately, although everything about this film is good, the fact that it is being released after other movies that did it better won’t help the perception of the film in the long run.

On a technical level, the movie is quite strong. The cinematography, particularly during the hiking sequences, is very good. With the camera, Mauran is able to effectively capture what makes the Pacific Crest Trail such an intimidating and challenging risk. Thankfully, the film is shot in a way that is very cinematic, mitigating some of the narrative redundancies.

While similar stories have been told more effectively, Elevation Change is still a mostly entertaining and effective documentary. The human element certainly could have used a bit more depth, but for what it is, this is an inspiring tale.

Elevation Change is available on VOD beginning October 1.


24/7: Kelly Slater (2019) | Surfing Pipeline (Promo) | HBO

Offering an intimate look into the life of the professional surfer, 24/7: Kelly Slater follows 11-time champion as he prepares for the last leg of the World Surf League’s Championship tour. #HBO #HBODocs Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: Don’t have HBO? Order Now: Get More HBO: Get HBO GO: Like on Facebook:…

Quiet, Intimate and Pure: Sound Mixing on The Irishman | Netflix

Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci star in Martin Scorsese’s THE IRISHMAN, a saga of organized crime in post-war America told through the eyes of World War II veteran Frank Sheeran, a hustler and hitman who worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th century. Spanning decades, the film chronicles…

Dynasty | To Family | Season Trailer | The CW

Stream new episodes of Dynasty Saturdays, free only on The CW App: SUBSCRIBE: About DYNASTY: Fallon Carrington is charismatic, cunning, and poised to become the new COO of her father’s global energy empire – or so she thinks. When her father, Blake Carrington, summons Fallon and her brother, Steven, home in Atlanta, Fallon…

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia | Season 14 Ep. 10: Frank Reynolds: Master Blaster Highlight | FXX

The sci-fi hero we need. Subscribe now for more It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia clips: In the 14th Season of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, the Gang goes to extremes. Mac learns a new language, Charlie does a period piece, Dennis attempts a one-act play, Dee cuts her hair, and Frank performs a death…

Legacies | Squad | Season Trailer | The CW

Stream new episodes of Legacies Fridays, free only on The CW App: SUBSCRIBE: About LEGACIES: The show centers around Hope Mikaelson, the vampire-witch-werewolf hybrid daughter of Hayley Marshall-Kenner and Klaus Mikaelson, and her time at a school for the supernatural called The Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted. Connect with LEGACIES online:…

ASMR with Charli XCX and Nasty Cherry | Netflix

Charli XCX and the band Nasty Cherry try ASMR Watch I’m with the band: Nasty Cherry, Only on Netflix: SUBSCRIBE: About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with over 158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres…

Old Friends Ep. 4 Clip | Dublin Murders | STARZ

Cathal Mills and Jonathan Devlin’s reunion doesn’t go down well. Watch Dublin Murders NOW on the STARZ App: #DublinMurders #STARZ Subscribe to the STARZ YouTube Channel for more Dublin Murders: Like Dublin Murders on Facebook: Like Dublin Murders on Twitter: Like Dublin Murders on Instagram: Like STARZ on Facebook:…

The Irishman’s Anna Paquin Reflects On Her Favorite Roles | Netflix

From The Piano to Margaret to The Irishman, Anna Paquin looks back on her favorite roles throughout her career. Watch The Irishman, on the big screen and on Netflix: SUBSCRIBE: About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with over 158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series,…
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here