Only The Brave Review


Only The Brave hits theaters on October 20th. Get your tickets now and be ready for an amazing movie.


Only the Brave follows the story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots and the Yarnell Fire. Based on the true story of the Yarnell Fire and the journey the Granite Mountain Hotshots took beginning as hand crew, to getting their Hotshot certification, to the eventual Yarnell Fire they are best known for fighting. The movie starts off introducing the crew, led by Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin). They are up for certification but lose two of their members, who join another firefighter crew. They gain two new members to replace them, one of them being Brendan McDonough, a known drug addict who has quit and is looking to better himself for the sake of his daughter.

The movie doesn’t introduce you to a lot of the members of the crew, but mainly focuses on a couple of them and their hijinks throughout the movie. They play and joke around, help each other out, and overall show they are a family in almost every regard. Even when a member of the crew needs help outside of the job, the others are there to help. The fun times in this movie are very akin to the movie Super Troopers as the crew plays pranks on each other. The scenes of the crew together when they are not on the job are always fun and relaxing. On the other hand, when it comes to the parts where they are on the job and stopping fires, it is nothing but serious, and the level of skill this crew has is evident from the start of the movie.

It is the perfect story that has the exact mix of emotions you would want. The parts where the crew are off duty are fun and happy, the aspects dealing with their personal lives feel real and tense, and the parts where they are on the job are terrifying and stressful to watch. The mix of emotions you will feel when watching this movie will hurt even more when it is all over. This movie does not pull any punches throughout the entire two-hour runtime, and while it does Hollywood up the situation a bit from the Yarnell Fire, it does so in a way that makes you wish this event had gone almost any other way.


The acting is this movie is on point. Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, and the rest of the crew knock this one out of the park. Every actor in this movie is perfectly cast and puts on a performance I want to only see more of.

While I don’t know enough about the people that the actors were portraying to know if they were accurate, they performed as the characters they were written as exactly on point. Josh Brolin as Eric Marsh especially stuck out in this movie as what can only be described as the perfect casting job. During the movie I didn’t see Josh Brolin, I saw Eric Marsh. It’s rare to be so taken in by a performance that you forget that it’s an actor and not the actual person you are watching. While the other actors don’t end up in this same light, with Jeff Bridges always being Jeff Bridges or Miles Teller always being Miles Teller, they still bring their A-game to their performance in this movie.

Character Development

While this movie is based on a true story, it’s character development comes pretty simply from the plot. The movie introduces us to Brendan McDonough, a junkie who gets kicked out of his mother’s house. He decides to become something in order to take care of his just born daughter even though the mother wants nothing to do with him. We follow him as he grows to better himself and be there for his daughter. He eventually comes to the point where the work he is doing is causing him to no longer be around for his daughter, despite this being his original goal.

This is where most movies don’t bring realism into the fray and where the development of two characters colliding doesn’t happen unless they are on the same path at the same time. While Brendan is going through his development, Eric Marsh is going through his own development as a hot headed leader of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. He pushes his family life around his work life and his job is everything. The two paths clash as Eric has risked a lot to give Brandon a chance,and Brandon is now at a crossroads where he wants to leave the Hotshots to be a better father – something Marsh has pushed off from his own life.

There is also some development with other characters in the movie, but it isn’t as strong as the development of Brendon and Marsh, which just brings even more realism to these characters. While they don’t get as much screen time, you can see their own development happening slowly in the background.


This movie has a heavy focus on fires, so most of the effects emphasize that. The effects truly do make you feel like you are in forests that are set ablaze. When the fire is on screen and the events aren’t working out for the crew, the flames look real and terrifying as if you were there.

There is not much else to say about the effects with this movie, but they do bring the movie together in a way that would feel missing if they weren’t there. There was nothing new or spectacular, but the movie also didn’t overdo effects to the point of it getting annoying. The effects were exactly what was needed exactly when they were needed.


This movie is very enjoyable overall. There are some slight pacing issues at points, but they do not take away from the movie as a whole. Since the film is based on a true story, it doesn’t have much wiggle room to change the plot in any way and they find a way to make it exciting to watch from the beginning to the end. The movie stays true to the events that transpired in terms of events and timelines, and while it cannot be said if the characters are all accurate, they are all fun to watch on the screen.




Final Thoughts

Go see this movie. If you miss it in theaters buy it on Blu-ray, or watch it as soon as it comes up on your favorite streaming service. There is nothing more to say than to go see this movie as soon as you can. This is a movie I feel nearly everyone can enjoy in some aspect, and it will be a movie I will continue to recommend to people in the future.