127 Hours

And that’s why you always leave a note.

-J. Walter Weatherman

I’ve been a fan of Danny Boyle’s films since Trainspotting, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to go see 127 Hours. A movie based on the true story of a hiker who gets trapped under a rock and has to cut off his own arm? Wouldn’t that be unbearable to watch? Turns out, yes and no.

Honestly, if you’re squeamish, you can still watch this movie. The whole thing is tense, but it only gets really bad for about two minutes. If you’re worried you can’t take the arm-cutting, here’s my advice: after about an hour and fifteen minutes, he realizes what he has to do. The scene starts with him breaking his own arm. When that happens, leave the theater for three minutes, then come back. You’ll be fine and he’ll be free.

I stayed, and it was an overwhelming but rewarding experience. When he finally gets free, my heart rate was elevated and I took a bunch of hurried breaths to release the tension. It’s amazing what James Franco pulls off, doing a whole movie stuck in what looks like a tiny chasm. He has to carry the film single handedly, so to speak, and does.