Reviewed by: Jonathan Rodriguez
survival in very difficult circumstances
What is Christian LOVE? Answer
infidelity and sexual immorality
What causes the seasons? Answer—an illustrated explanation
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer
Idris Elba … Ben Bass
Kate Winslet … Alex Martin
Beau Bridges … Walter
Dermot Mulroney … Mark
Linda Sorensen … Pamela
Vincent Gale … Airline Customer Service
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|Director:||Hany Abu-Assad—“Paradise Now”|
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|Distributor:||Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation|
“What if your life depended on a stranger?”
There is a mountain located directly in the line of sight between the viewers of “The Mountain Between Us” and the movie itself. How one views that mountain will make all the difference in whether they completely give themselves over to this movie, or whether they call the mountain for what it is and totally write this movie off as nonsense.
Idris Elba plays Ben, a neurosurgeon trying to catch a flight from Salt Lake City back to the East Coast to perform emergency surgery on a 10 year-old the next morning, and Kate Winslet plays Alex, a photojournalist for The Guardian who is trying to catch a flight back for her wedding the next day.
Both are informed that their flights have been canceled due to weather, and since Alex overhears Ben on the phone discussing his dilemma, she approaches him with the idea of hiring a charter plane to fly them to Denver, where they can make their connecting flights. Beau Bridges is the pilot of choice, and so, along with his dog, he begins what should simply be a short little puddle-jump in a legit puddle-jumper.
If you’ve paid attention at all to the trailers, you know what happens next: the plane crashes on a snowy mountaintop and the 2 passengers (along with the dog) survive and are stranded in the middle of nowhere, forcing the 2 strangers to work together if they want any chance at survival.
The film is rated PG-13 for “a scene of sexuality, peril, injury images, and brief strong language.” The scene of sexuality is brief, between 2 characters that aren’t married, and contains no nudity, but it’s one of those scenes where the arms and hands are conveniently placed to (barely) cover things up. There is another brief scene of Alex in a see through top with no bra underneath, leaving nothing to the imagination.
The scene where the plane crashes may upset some younger viewers, but it’s not as intense a plane-crash scene as in, say, “Castaway.” A jump scene pops up at one point in the film, and it will likely startle everyone in the theater. There are scenes with blood and injuries.
Language—There is profanity: “J*sus Chr*st” (2), “J*sus” (3), “Oh J*sus,” “Oh my G*d” (6), “Oh G*d,” “G*d,” “Oh my L*rd,” “d*mn,” “h*ll.” There is also one very clear use of the f-word, and another time I thought I may have heard it, but it was mouthed—at the very least. There are 9 s-words and 1 a**.
The film does very briefly credit God for the way the human body is designed to withstand changes in temperature, and I thought 1 of 2 things would happen. I thought the other character would laugh at the mention of intelligent design. Or I thought it would lead the characters into a deeper conversation about life and existence and what might be coming if they don’t survive in the frozen wildness. Neither of these things happen.
The film seems mostly targeted to adults (and possibly older teens). One mom in the theater had her son with her, and he didn’t look to be more than 10. As always, parents are urged to exercise strong caution and discernment before taking kids.
Will adults want to see the movie? Well, there’s no denying the charm and appeal of both Elba and Winslet. I honestly don’t think it’s possible for either of them to deliver bad performances, and they certainly don’t here. Because of the nature of the film, there is a very obvious direction these characters could have taken, but Elba and Winslet both give us something much deeper.
I found myself drawn (perhaps because there are so many close-up shots) to the eyes of both of the leads in this film, because so much of their emotion is displayed on their faces and in their eyes. One scene, in particular, finds Elba listening to something he hasn’t heard in a really long time, and the look that washes over the actor’s face almost makes him look like a completely different person. I honestly don’t know if there are many other actors who could have carried a movie like this the way they do.
The locations are stunning and enormously daunting. I’ve read there wasn’t any green screen usage once the actors were on the mountain; they were dropped off by helicopter right on the top of the mountain. This does give the film an even more authentic, bleak feel. But, unfortunately, that feel doesn’t really translate into stress or tension of any kind. There are a few scenes at the start of their survival journey that are played as moments where we are supposed to be afraid for the characters. Unfortunately, we live in an age where half the movie is given away in the trailers, and since we know other scenes have to happen, those initial scenes lose a little of their impact. That didn’t necessarily bother me, per se, but increased tension would have made for a more thrilling movie experience.
The problem that some people may have with this film is the existence of something I call Cheese Mountain, which is the aforementioned mountain located directly between the viewer and the film itself. The Cheese Mountain between is incredibly cheesy, completely predictable, and impossible to miss. From the minute they meet, we pretty much know exactly what’s going to happen, and we are right. The amount of plot holes and contrivances along the way are enough to fill half a dozen spring movie releases. And I can’t imagine how many times viewers will be asking themselves “But wait… how did… ?” I won’t even get into how many questions I have about the dog.
Viewers are either going to recognize Cheese Mountain and choose to ignore it and give themselves over to the movie, or they will be too overwhelmed by it and will spend the whole time rolling their eyes.
I have gone into certain movies and just felt a little more cynical that day than usual and have mentally ripped those movies apart. And maybe, if I had been in a cynical mood today, I’d have done the same. But I wasn’t, and I wound up really enjoying this movie, in spite of itself. I was completely won over by the performances, the emotions, the scenery, and the brief moments of humor.
I had so many questions, but, when the credits rolled, I honestly didn’t care about any of them. I was too wrapped up in the final shot. But, I absolutely know that not everyone will feel the same way. If you can handle the cheese, you may want to give “The Mountain Between Us” a shot. If you don’t think you can, and you see this movie anyway, Cheese Mountain is the only thing you’ll notice.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.