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Overall Rating
3.35

Awesome: 18.18%
Worth A Look39.9%
Just Average: 14.14%
Pretty Crappy: 14.65%
Sucks: 13.13%

13 reviews, 120 user ratings


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Cold Mountain
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by Robert Flaxman

"Solid acting but pretty disposable otherwise."
3 stars

Are you familiar with Homer's Odyssey? You may not have read it, but chances are that if you made it through high school you've at least heard of the epic poem, and maybe even have a passing familiarity with the plot. If you do, you've already seen Cold Mountain - from a plot aspect, anyway.

In 1861, Inman (Jude Law) is called away to war, leaving Ada (Nicole Kidman), the woman he'd just begun to fall in love with, behind in the rural North Carolina town of Cold Mountain. We skip ahead to near the end of the war, late 1864 or early 1865. Long since weary of fighting and having taken a bullet in the neck, only to recover, Inman abandons a military hospital and begins a long walk back to North Carolina, to the woman who had been his only salvation during the war.

Of course, it is not just a straight walk back. Inman is pursued by the Home Guard, sworn to retrieve deserters, and he meets a variety of colorful characters, while doing good deeds.

Inman's story is basically the Odyssey. It might as well be, anyway. Then there is the part of the story that focuses on Ada's attempt to adjust to life on her own after her minister father (Donald Sutherland) dies of a weak heart. With her farm in disrepair and Teague (Ray Winstone), the head of the local Home Guard, breathing down her neck for a variety of reasons, Ada needs help - and she gets it in Ruby Thewes (Renee Zellweger), a rough-edged independent woman who has never needed anyone to help her get through life.

Cold Mountain parallels two journeys - Inman's journey from the front back to North Carolina, and Ada's journey from helpless Southern belle to independent woman. Both, it should be said, are pretty standard stuff, even if we ignore how much the former recalls the Odyssey. Inman just bounces from one scenario to the next, meeting various characters who help him, or provide comic relief (like Philip Seymour Hoffman as a disgraced preacher who, it must be said, is a pretty funny character). Meanwhile, Ada frets over various things while Ruby provides comic relief. It also doesn't help that the plot is stretched out over two and a half hours.

So what is there to recommend Cold Mountain? The characters, basically. When a plot is a bit thin, a movie has its characters or it has nothing - and fortunately for everyone concerned, Cold Mountain has its characters. It also has good actors to portray those characters. Jude Law deserved his Oscar nomination for his turn as Inman, a man who is consumed by the love for a woman he doesn't even know very well. His quiet compassion and nobility provide the film with its anchor and keep a repetitive storyline watchable.

It's not clear whether Ada and Ruby could support a storyline by themselves, but since they work together, they don't have to. Their story is strong mostly due to the characterizations, handled well by Kidman and Zellweger. (Zellweger's comic relief, while sometimes jarring, is generally a good respite from the heavier tone of the surrounding film.)

Many of the supporting characters work well too. Hoffman is great as always, while Brendan Gleeson adds a nice role as Ruby's estranged father. This is, however, one of those movies that goes for all the cameos it can, and they are occasionally distracting - Natalie Portman as a Southern widow was pushing it just a bit. By and large, though, things work.

Straddling the line between "middling story" and "great acting," Cold Mountain finds itself kind of in the middle as a whole. Though it makes some attempt to be epic, and feels that way briefly in its opening war scenes, it can't hold its grand scale, and frequently feels one-dimensional. The characters add a second dimension, but only rarely does the film actually manage to jump off the screen and become immediately involving.

The actors lift it up a bit, but otherwise Cold Mountain is pretty average.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8421&reviewer=385
originally posted: 10/11/04 03:28:34
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User Comments

10/22/20 Ed Riddick Great actors and beautiful presentation largely compensate for weaknesses. It grows on you 4 stars
12/28/17 morris campbell good if this your cup of tea 4 stars
4/19/13 R. Sibley It glorifies the civil war less than Gettysburg or Gods and Generals. Cheesy plot though. 3 stars
11/25/10 Jeff Wilder A better than average Civil War picture. Way better than the overrated English Patient. 4 stars
1/07/09 Rachel a good tomance! 4 stars
11/27/08 little Red pretty good, defidently not an up beat movie 3 stars
11/11/08 YahooBot Nice site, thanks for information! 5 stars
8/18/08 Shaun Wallner Interesting storyline. 4 stars
6/07/08 PAUL SHORTT A LOVE STORY THAT LEAVES YOU COLD 1 stars
7/03/07 Ionicera lacked many of the book's subtleties, but what movie doesn't? 4 stars
5/10/07 mb Good rythm, friendly to watch, but kind of empty and pointless. Without heart. Overkill. 4 stars
8/19/06 Verrine Nice take on Odysseus & Penelope. Loved Renee Zellweger & comic relief dad. 4 stars
7/31/06 R.W.Welch Watchable civil war opus tho much of the dialogue is nearly unintelligible. 4 stars
1/27/06 Steve Newman Get this out on DVD - NOW!! Very very enjoyable 5 stars
1/15/06 Frank Rountree Great story and the acting was superb! 5 stars
9/19/05 Jonathon Holmes save your money for "Return of the King" 2 stars
9/02/05 ES Top three actors in this movie are regular Oscar contenders, Oscars mean nothing 2 stars
7/23/05 B J GREAT FOR NICOLE LOVERS 4 stars
5/27/05 Kat bella and Jess Dear Ray we know u adn we r ur biggest fans luv kat jess and bella we put u in our english 5 stars
2/27/05 Ray Lampard A film for grownups at last 5 stars
2/05/05 Amy Bradshaw Beautiful! I love, love, love this movie. Beautiful Story. 5 stars
2/03/05 Aaron Smith Boring and slow. 2 stars
1/20/05 Landshark frequent missteps and boredom on a winding elephantine journey 2 stars
1/07/05 tatum What, all the southern American actors and actresses were busy? 1 stars
12/22/04 Tatiana Pretentious, insipid, and self-conscious of everything but its own suckiness. 1 stars
12/14/04 Etheridge Hoogendijk Yeah! Rather see Nicole Kidman or Natalie Portman ecstaticly end a bout of constipation! 4 stars
12/14/04 Jenna Furr Another sad tribute to dogma that "bodily functions" are strictly for buffoons. The rest OK 4 stars
12/14/04 Evangelica Schnapfenschalz Shows Renee Zellweger CAN act after all. Why waste her in more Bridget Jones's Diarrhea? 4 stars
11/07/04 Carlos Navarro Yuck! 2 stars
10/31/04 Charles S. Lewis Only a partial story of the seige of Petersburg, VA. in 1864 4 stars
10/23/04 Ebert Rogers Made me glad I wasn't born back then 4 stars
10/15/04 Denise Jude Law was good 5 stars
9/12/04 Matt Lousy movie but it reminded me how badly I want to fuck Nicole Kidman. 2 stars
9/05/04 Monster W. Kung Overly melodramatic, with fucking HORRIBLE music. 2 stars
8/28/04 capitalbliss I enjoyed this movie, the soundtrack even more, but it's just a good movie. 4 stars
8/05/04 Chris excellent story. great acting. movie looked great. I enjoyed this film. 5 stars
7/26/04 Phil M. Aficionado Very solid movie, romantic and beautiful. Antiwar and anti-testorone without preaching. 4 stars
7/17/04 Chuck I loved the bird in the Church scene...it showed Ada who the real Inman was...sigh... 5 stars
7/11/04 Darryl Jude Law excellent. A pretty good movie, but didn't like ending. Inman should've lived. 4 stars
7/08/04 djacosta Kidman's ass made my mouth water 3 stars
7/05/04 Sara Bosie was awesome! 5 stars
7/04/04 Jeff Semlow Jude Law was great as usual, but overall just a so/so movie 3 stars
6/22/04 S.F Great movie ! 4 stars
6/03/04 Elizaveta Great music, very involving, good characters, horrors of war, etc. Very good, all in all. 4 stars
5/14/04 earl duron great movie with superb acting 5 stars
5/13/04 Idiot's Mouth Muskewitz is a tool--this sucked, HARD! Give Kidman back; Aussies need waitresses too.... 1 stars
4/18/04 y2mckay colorful supporting characters make up for bloated love story and bloated running time. 3 stars
4/14/04 Ashlee It was too much of an anti-climax at the end, didn't feel satisfied after watching it. 4 stars
4/03/04 DM Doesn't suck but a big, bloated disappointment - Good try, though 3 stars
4/01/04 movieboy Wonderful movie. Grear acting from Jude Law and Nicole kidman and defently Renne zellweger 5 stars
3/18/04 Tam Powerful but emotionally draining viewing. Law should have won the Best Actor Oscar! 4 stars
3/18/04 Dasha Very beautiful and very sad 5 stars
3/06/04 Jaco Visser How bitter is war? Go watch Cold Mtn.! 4 stars
3/05/04 John Doe This is a great movie and tells an intrigueing story 5 stars
3/02/04 Chow Yun Fatt I woud stay with Portman and never return to Cold Mountain 4 stars
3/02/04 A Film Critic ???You, critics, consider "American Pie" better than Fassbinder? 5 stars
2/29/04 bb absolutely fascinating 5 stars
2/28/04 jimmy two times A shitty version of the English Patient meets Gone with the Wind. Minghellahas done better. 3 stars
2/27/04 Kyle All involved have done better. About as gripping and realistic as "See Spot Run". 1 stars
2/15/04 Carolyn Haywood Total disregard for period, place and people! He failed to capture anything but pomp. 2 stars
2/12/04 Ashley Corpening Good! I'm glad it has the chutzpah to depict war crimes by soldiers on both sides. 4 stars
2/10/04 Ixnay on shades of silliest parts of DANCES WITH WOLVES I hope for a day in movies when constipation can strike heros not just villains&buffoons! 4 stars
2/10/04 NC mountain lover who would've liked authentic scenery better C'mon, both Kidman's performance & movie blow "Hours" SO far out of water!! 4 stars
1/31/04 Smitty Kidman in "Hours" was amazing - here she was just sleepwalking - face was always too clean 3 stars
1/30/04 Mary O'Reilly Duclos Shallow, superficial, dishonest, boring,Silly,trite,overblown,oversized and overlong. 2 stars
1/27/04 Travis needs alot of work 2 stars
1/27/04 caleb murphy it sucked, no emotion 1 stars
1/26/04 Cat Smith While I loved English Patient, I found this film boring. 3 stars
1/26/04 JKEEN Depressing, nasty, overly long and painfully boring. Can't remember hating a movie more. 1 stars
1/25/04 Graham I keep telling myself, it's just Oscar-bait. But I still love it. 5 stars
1/24/04 124 renee has to be thee most overrated actress 1 stars
1/24/04 john bale Its not that its such a bad film its just that Gone With The Wind is so good ! 3 stars
1/23/04 alien assassin This was a well made historic drama. If you think it was boring, you must have ADD !!!!! 4 stars
1/23/04 Elena It's a well-crafted movie, but nothing new, and altogether way over-hyped. Kidman is bland. 3 stars
1/19/04 Andy Woodhead Yawn, Boring, Crap 1 stars
1/18/04 esquire gay 3 stars
1/18/04 VALERIE YOU MISS SO MUCH AS A CRITIC, I FEEL SORRY FOR YOU. IF YOU WOULD JUST WATCH IT TO ENJOY IT. 5 stars
1/17/04 Emperor's New Clothes? Nope. Just a Fat, Ugly, Naked, Guy. Like a prettily wrapped gift--thats empty. Beautiful but a littletoo cold on Cold Mountain. 4 stars
1/16/04 KingNeutron Sex scene really wasn't necessary; but otherwise enjoyable. Portman was great. 4 stars
1/15/04 Joe Kacmarynski Invoked all my emotions: love, hate, anger, humor,pity. Renee Zellweger for best supporting 5 stars
1/15/04 Ralph R. Clemente Zellweger is great - picture is good 4 stars
1/14/04 Betty White Nice period flavor cannot save this overlong, un-romantic drama. 2 stars
1/12/04 Happy Hour kidman+law=zero chemestry. Movie was dull and slow. 2 1/2 hours of my life wasted. 1 stars
1/09/04 Daniel Movie honors the book. Renée stole every scene. Effects so-so(see turkey shoot- ugh!) 4 stars
1/08/04 Amy Kearns Awsome cast and great movie 5 stars
1/08/04 Mark F. no chemistry between the stars and a silly, silly plot! 2 stars
1/07/04 jdogg bad book=bad movie. this ain't history, folks--it's melodrama. 1 stars
1/07/04 Becca Kidman fine, Law marvellously understated, Zellweger showing us how underrated she has been 5 stars
1/07/04 Sara DeVine That's it Hollywood. I've been abused for the last time! 1 stars
1/06/04 Glen Overcah. Wonderful movie.Kidman,Law and Zellwegger pull you into this world of bygone days. 5 stars
1/05/04 Susanna Terrible movie, poorly written and directed, but Natalie Portman's performance is great. 2 stars
1/04/04 Brenda Cold Mountain is a beautiful poem about the triumph of Venus over Mars. 5 stars
1/04/04 J. KNIGHT GREAT SCENERY, ZELLWEGER IS AWSOME 4 stars
1/04/04 Lily wtf is your reviewer's problem!? It was a GREAT movie! What is he, blind or something? 4 stars
1/02/04 A F How many chances did he have to get on a horse? Predictable and boring! 1 stars
1/01/04 Andrea Watson I think its a great story but i did not feel the chemistry between ada and Inman 3 stars
12/31/03 Soo Can Ho-hum 3 stars
12/31/03 jdogg Book simplistic and overwrought; movie no better. This South better not rise again. 1 stars
12/31/03 Mattie G (Surprisingly) good movie ... Little to no emotional impact after watching though. 4 stars
12/31/03 Jane Smith An awesome movie! Devastatingly romantic! 5 stars
12/31/03 --- Anyone who doesnt like this movie has no taste and should burn in hell 5 stars
12/29/03 ownerofdajoint fantastic flick;war is a motherfucker and love is all there is.... 5 stars
12/29/03 Bryant Smith Whoever said this movie outdid the book did not read the book. Law and Kidman do nothing. 2 stars
12/29/03 George Jung Paint by numbers drama with a bullshit ending and an unlikable hero. 1 stars
12/29/03 Alonzo P. Tucker well, i'd never let that crazy goat lady watch my cats... 2 stars
12/29/03 Kelly B Rapturous love story? Is Corliss of Time on crack? Harlequin romance without Fabio. 1 stars
12/29/03 costars Big, Beautiful, Interesting, Intense, Intimate, from a great book a truly first rate film 5 stars
12/28/03 VERA VANICEK Decent movie, too long 3 stars
12/28/03 smartmusician Its a superb movie with great acting, don't know why many don't like it. 5 stars
12/28/03 Bruce Bowe Too long. Some of the parts are better than the sum of the parts. Bad story premise. 2 stars
12/28/03 Jennifer Where does Anthony Minghella get his overblown ideas of romantic love? Did he read the book 2 stars
12/26/03 jamierich godawful bore... who cares about these characters? 1 stars
12/26/03 Pheasant This little movie sucked the merry right out of Christmas!! Ughhhh! 1 stars
12/26/03 regis dreadful 1 stars
12/26/03 Linda Totally awesome.... 5 stars
12/26/03 Emperor's New Clothes? Nope. Just a Fat, Ugly, Naked, Guy. Fpr a Hollywood movie, what more can you expect? 5 stars
12/26/03 Tom Pugh Good, entertaining production. Grim. Epic values, good music, two endings one a cop out. 4 stars
12/25/03 Rose Donovan very shallow lust story - well filmed 4 stars
12/25/03 Superdave its all right, not great. whats all the hubub about? 3 stars
12/24/03 nuke sleeper bomb 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  25-Dec-2003 (R)
  DVD: 29-Jun-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  01-Jan-2004




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