This moving story is full of breathtaking compositions, gorgeous spectacle, and inspiring philosophies articulated by sympathetic figures. Heinrich Harrer (Brad Pitt) is a selfish mountain climber from Austria who's estranged from his wife and son. World War II and internment in a British POW camp interrupt a Himalayan expedition led by Peter Aufschnaiter (David Thewlis), with whom Harrer forges a grudging friendship. Using survival techniques that are dramatically detailed without being fetishized, Harrer and Aufschnaiter endure hunger and exposure as they make their way to Tibet, where Harrer and the young Dalai Lama develop a transferential relationship. Jean-Jacques Annaud (The Lover) directed a screenplay by Becky Johnston based on the 1953 memoir of Harrer, whom the movie's publicity condemned for not having much to say about his life before 1939 even as the press condemned the filmmakers for the same thing.