R for violence, nudity and sexuality
Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger,
Philip Seymour Hoffman,
Robin Mullins, Natalie Portman, Giovanni Ribisi, Donald Sutherland
Mountain Official Web Site
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This movie contains sexually explicit material.
Plot: Ada (Nicole Kidman) is a preachers daughter in a small North
Carolina town, who falls in love with a shy but willing, Inman (Jude Law).
As their romance begins to blossom so does the Civil War and soon all
confederate men are asked to join the cause. With only a kiss to remember
each other and a book with a photo of Ada, Inman heads for war. Immediately
he is embroiled in one of the darkest battles in Civil War history and
after a serious injury, vows to return to the woman he loves. As the wounded
soldier makes his way across the war-ravaged south, he faces incredible
trials and tribulations; bounty hunters, Yankee soldiers, a man and a
group of twisted women drug Inman and his traveling companion then sexually
try to assault the two and sell them back to the Confederate army. As
Inman treks across the land he is helped by unexpected friends (Philip
Seymour Hoffman, Natalie Portman) along the way. Meanwhile, Ada suffers
the loss of her father and sees the farm deteriorate because she lacks
practical skills to manage it. As things get to a drastic state for Ada,
along comes a mountain woman named Ruby (Renee Zellweger) who lends her
skills for farming and her friendship and bravery to Ada. As the women
fend for themselves and fight off a local sheriff who wants to marry Ada,
Inman steadily makes his way back home, dreaming of the moment he can
reunite with his true love.
Good: I appreciated the magnificent scope of what it took to make
this movie. Director Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) has
recreated a visually stunning movie to watch, and even though early on,
some teased Minghella about this being his Heavens Gate,
in the end, this is a beautiful looking movie with gorgeous scenery, Civil
War battle scenes that are unique and unlike anything youve ever
seen before, an amazing score with haunting and original songs and several
interesting characters and relationships. Ada and Ruby are the most fun
to watch, but there are others; the strolling musicians (that include
Rubys estranged father), next door neighbors and all of the characters
Inman meets along his journey -- all make for an interesting and compelling
story, if not a satisfying one. Despite all of the Oscar buzz and accolades
this movie is getting, I have mixed emotions about this epic adaptation
based on the 1997 Charles Frazier novel. Filmed in Romania, the story
takes us back to a nineteenth century America that spans from gorgeous
mountains and a small town to amazing Civil War scenes that are violent
and eccentrically executed because of the unusual battle that took place
in 1864. Inmans perilous journey is filled with interesting performances
by Hoffman, Ribisi and Portman but throughout his journey there is always
a heavy creepy and depressing mood that accompanies him. Law is an able
leading man and is visually intriguing to watch. The love scene between
the self-married couple is intimate and full of chemistry as this scene
represents the union both have dreamed about. Kidmans character
goes through the biggest metamorphous. In the end, shes convincing
as an admirable and self sufficient woman. But its the friendship
between Ada and the hick-sounding, loudmouthed Zellweger that provide
most of the humor and entertainment for the story. The womens relationship
lends warmth, charm and true grit to a story that heavily relies on a
romance that takes place between the two star-crossed lovers who never
see each other throughout the entire story. For all of the epic aspects
that work in this film, theres still something that left me a little
cold when it was over.
Bad: Warning: The following contains information that may spoil
the plot for some readers.
This is clearly an adult story with scenes from a specific civil war
battle that was particularly bloody and frightening. Body parts are shown
blown off, men are stabbed with bayonets, others are shot or bludgeoned,
in other words, its war in its most brutal form as it realistically
was back then. Language and crude dialogue are woven into a portrayal
of a rough way of life. A couple of sexual situations take place that
are graphic in nature. One is because Inman and a friend are drugged by
women who scheme to turn them in for reward money. We see full nudity
of several women and partial nudity of the man. Another situation takes
place between Inman and Ada when they reunite for their wedding night.
We see both characters nude and in intimate sexual positions. Another
brief scene shows Inman laying beside a woman (both fully clothed) but
nothing sexual takes place. Perhaps the biggest disappointment to the
story and quite possibly the reason the movie is leaving some feeling
cold, is the lack of screen time our two stars spend together. After wading
through a long movie filled with situations and people who try to keep
our lovers apart, it is extremely frustrating to finally see the two together
only for one night of wedded bliss. For those who have read the New
York Times best seller - you already know what happens to Inman. But
for those who arent familiar with the story, the ending will probably
frustrate, disappoint and almost irritate you.
Bottom Line: The one thing that would have made this movie more compelling
and perhaps the one thing that would probably have made it a bigger box-office
success than its going to be - would have been for the two lovers to
wind up together. Whether artsy, independent Hollywood filmmakers want to
admit it or not - the human nature of audiences is to root for the good guys
and cheer for star-crossed lovers. When you have a movie about two people
who are kept from each other through thick and thin and the audience never
sees them together until the very end - the result better be a happy ending
that will give the audience something to cheer about and create a positive
buzz about the movie. I have a feeling that after the word gets out about
Cold Mountain and it's depressing ending, some may end up giving
it a cold reception at the box office. For those who don't mind the less-than-happy-ever-after-ending,
this is a fascinating study in human behavior and the power of what love between
two people who hardly knew each other, can do.
Visit Holly McClure's website at http://www.hollymcclure.com.
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