Los Angeles Times
Calendar Weekend

Thursday, July 29, 1999

The Laemmle Theaters’ “Summer Series” continues Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. at the Sunset 5 (8000 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood) with Bob Swaim’s “The Climb,” a classic small boy-old man relationship movie that represents quite a departure for the American director of such stylish French films as “La Balance.” The story is so familiar you may find your attention wandering, yet it is a sincere effort anchored by fine performances, most notably by John Hurt, David Strathairn and young Gregory Smith. The widowed Strathairn and his son (Smith) live in a blue-collar Baltimore suburb in 1959, which means that there are lots of neighboring World War II vets who have concluded that because Strathairn didn’t serve in the war he must be one of those lily-livered conscientious objectors. This makes it tough on his kid, who gets crucial grandfatherly reinforcement from Hurt, a crusty itinerant construct-worker who’s dying of cancer, Auckland, New Zealand, passes fairly well for Baltimore outskirts. “The Climb” also screens Aug. 7 and 8 at 11 a.m. at the Monica 4-Plex (1332 2nd St., Santa Monica). Sunset 5: (323) 848-3500; Monica 4-Plex: (310) 394-9741.