ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Sunshine Superman (2015) Review

Updated on May 24, 2015

I always wanted to fly as a kid. It felt like the ultimate expression of freedom. I used to daydream about how the wind would feel in my face, how fast I would go (not too fast), how high (not too high), and how I would balance my body weight. Over the years my relationship with my own mortality has blossomed, and thanks to the glory of the internet I’ve witnessed many horrifying deaths from many unexpected causes. So I’ve limited myself in the kinds of physical activities I will and won’t pursue, especially just for fun. One of those activities is skydiving. There is just no way in hell. What could possess someone, I ask myself. How deluded would you have to be to make that decision?

This new documentary from writer/director Marah Strauch has answered my question: very. The strange thing is, the jumpers themselves are the first to admit it, and proudly. Having that kind of perspective usually means you’re okay. And in fact the jumpers in this documentary are all well-spoken, highly educated, and highly trained professionals. It finally struck me that, hey, they don’t let just any idiot take a plane ride to jump out. A lot goes into it. The main element of separation between these people and others is that skydivers handle their fear differently and can overcome it. This allows them to accomplish feats outside our realm of experience and fathomability.

Enter Carl Boenish (rhymes with “Danish”). The central figure of this documentary is such an infectiously enthusiastic and inspiring figure that the people in his life, even those that knew him briefly, speak about the major impact he had on them. I fell in love with the guy. The beauty of Carl is that he successfully makes his choices seem like the most natural thing in the world, as it was his self-proclaimed mission to do. He wanted to share how attainable and exhilarating jumping can be for people who can’t fathom it. So he invented innovative ways to film it. His wealth of insane footage is part of what makes this such an incredible documentary subject. And yes, seeing every possible angle of the jump takes away the shroud of fear and mystery. Even if it’s difficult to watch at points, it kind of starts to make sense the more you’re exposed to it.

With this cinematic gold Strauch combines old news coverage and interviews from around this time period (late ‘70s to early ‘80s). Because at the time Carl’s movement from skydiving to jumping off of cliffs and buildings was a completely alien idea—there were extensive legal battles and police interventions—this footage adds a dimension of excitement and intrigue. Not only do we get the full story from the period, but Strauch also employs tastefully simple dramatic recreations of important anecdotes. These plop you in the middle of the relatable lives of the subjects, but avoid being distracting by focusing on their actions and not their faces. John Kaada’s period soundtrack completes the picture of the era while adding an easy-going yet high energy. The story really picks up the pace with Carl’s invention of BASE jumping (an acronym for the four types of platforms from which to jump—Buildings, Antennae, Spans, and Earth).

In the midst of all this excitement is one of the most pure, adorable, and inspirational love stories you’ll ever see. Carl and his wife Jean shared everything. They were one of those couples that were living in their purpose by being together, no explanation needed. They supported each other and powered through every boundary they came up against. Their climactic moments in Norway bring their tale to a rare level of grandiosity and gothic beauty.

Carl’s story is a testament to the potency of our actions when we’re following our passion. Even more than jumping, it makes a full life seem attainable, even if it is short. For many of us the only way we’ll ever fly is by fully living in our purpose. In Carl’s case, it’s like somebody has hit us over the head with a mallet of symbolism, pointing and yelling, “Look, dummy! You can fly!”


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)