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5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking Civil War love story
Inman's odyssey, his epic journey to return to his love waiting for him on Cold Mountain, forms the backbone of this story. Inman, played by Jude Law with admirable silence and restraint, is on a trek of the highest magnitude, walking across mountain after mountain, hiding from and sometimes fighting off the murderous Home Guard, and hiding from and sometimes fighting off...
Published on July 4 2004 by Peggy Vincent

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars "3 1/2 stars actually....Not Quite Best Picture,either"
I bought the DVD of Cold Mountain, "excited" to see a film friends and family "raved" about, I'm glad I own a copy,I enjoyed the extra features,and the movie. I can ,however, understand Hollywood not giving the film "Best Picture"...
I wanted to subtitle this review, "been there, done that!".
Good individual acting...
Published on July 7 2004


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4.0 out of 5 stars A civil war odyssey focusing on the suffering at home, July 9 2004
Cold Mountain is a sad romance about the Civil War that shows us the effects of the war on the home front and the women of the Old South. We all expect that we know what happened to the people who lived and fought at the various fronts of the war with all its direct horrors. There is one spectacular battle scene - The Siege of Petersburg.
Ada Monroe (played beautifully by Nicole Kidman) is a Southern Belle transplanted to rustic surroundings with her father, the Reverend Monroe (handsomely done by Donald Sutherland). She is widely admired, but lives a lonely life. Her special admirer is Inman (the always fine Jude Law) who is man of few words with a strong internal life that is somewhat disconnected from the world around him.
When Ada finds herself on her own she fares terribly and survives only by the kindness of her neighbors. When the war comes and most of the men go off to the war one man that stays behind is named Teague (portrayed with real intensity by Ray Winstone). Ada's friends send Ruby Thews (Ruby Tuesday?) to live with her because Ruby knows how to work the land and survive while Ada is an out of place jewel.
Renee Zellweger's performance as Ruby is powerful and is really the heartbeat of the movie if not the lyric poetry of it. There is a reason Ruby is the character that lingers in the mind vividly. Ruby and Ada thrive together and as the war turns against the south the Home Guard rises in power ostensibly to protect the people behind the lines. Really, they prey on the citizens to advance their own greed and power. Kathy Baker and James Gammon portray Sally and Esco Swanger who help Ada and Ruby and end up suffering terribly at the hands of the predatory protectors.
Inman wends his way home and has many adventures and the love that he and Ada share is powerful and unreasonable. Both of them realize this and do not really understand why their slight experience together binds them so powerfully. Ada is even unsure that Inman is alive except for some visionary hope.
Brendan Gleeson is fine as Ruby's musician father and Philip Seymour Hoffman is indelible as the Reverend Veasey. I don't know how Mr. Hoffman consistently makes his portrayals so memorable, but he always contributes a richness to his roles that he raises the quality of everything I have seen him in.
This movie has a bleakness about it that some may find too cold, and I understand that. However, I enjoyed the quiet depth of feeling between the characters during such amazingly hard times. I especially enjoyed seeing the Civil War's effects on those at home who were nonetheless in the war and paid so deep a price. To see some of that coming from those who were entrusted to protect them is all the more horrifying.
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3.0 out of 5 stars "3 1/2 stars actually....Not Quite Best Picture,either", July 7 2004
By A Customer
I bought the DVD of Cold Mountain, "excited" to see a film friends and family "raved" about, I'm glad I own a copy,I enjoyed the extra features,and the movie. I can ,however, understand Hollywood not giving the film "Best Picture"...
I wanted to subtitle this review, "been there, done that!".
Good individual acting performances, especially "Renee Zellwiger"
who made me chuckle several times with her performance as "Ruby".
Nicole Kidman was "good" as usual...I've come to expect that from her, and Jude was "very good" as Inman. They could not rise above the screenplay however, which wasn't so good.
For openers, how many "Teague's" can Hollywood give us? Think of Roots, Gone With the Wind, even "Josey Wales" and "he" is there. How many love stories about doomed lovers? How many preachers gone "bad"? I liked the storyline "basically", and the recreation of the "Battle of the Crater" at Petersburg, Virginia
was "very good",but the rest was almost too predictable,because of all the previous TV movies and theatrical releases we've seen about or based on the Civil War.
I thought the music and costuming was excellant,and the features included with the DVD are great! I only wish the movie was better,and I feel for the actors who tried, but could not overcome the screenplay. If you enjoy watching Nicole and Renee's
work, you won't go wrong getting this DVD,if you are a movie fan,
or collector, you may be disappointed.
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3.0 out of 5 stars What's with that "tacked on" love scene?, July 6 2004
By 
Stephen P. Lopez "Insane4art" (Hemet, California United States) - See all my reviews
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I really enjoyed "Cold Mountain". At 2 1/2 hours, it was a joy to get lost in....you know, turn off your brain and enjoy the show. I am reminded of Christopher Vogler's books (The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, & The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Storytellers and Screenwriters). Now don't get me wrong, I am not slinging mud in the direction of Charles Frazier's novel (which I haven't read yet), but when I saw the movie, I said "Hmmmmm, smells like Homer to me" (and I don't mean Simpson). But hey....isn't most writing and film making just one formula or another these days, or has it been always that way? Like I said, it was fun getting lost in the story....the acting and visuals are as good as it gets in this day and age, and the dialogue in this movie is at times, quite poetic (thank you Mr. Frazier). My only complaint was the OBVIOUSLY "Tacked On" love scene. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a prude...but hey, this "love scene" looked like a studio decision, not a director's decision to me. Yes, in "Eye's Wide Shut", I loved Nicole Kidman's backside etc., but at least there (no pun intended), her attributes seemed to actually be a part of the story (thank you Mr. Kubrick!). A simple "Fade Out" would have spoke volumes in this movie, instead of that "Joy of Sex" approach they chose. Why didn't "Cold Mountain" get nominated for "Best Picture"? In my opinion, it's the "tacked on" love scene that lost the election. In short: GREAT WORK by Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Natalie Portman, Giovanni Ribisi, Jack White, Brendan Gleeson, Donald Sutherland (and the Screenwriter/Director and Crew), but BAD DECISIONS by the STUDIO HEADS, THE PRODUCERS etc. (I won't hold the EDITOR responsible, because when does an editor have the last say anyway?). I hope there will eventually be "The Directors Cut" or "By popular Demand Cut" (minus the cheesey love scene). But for now...fast forwarding on my DVD player makes for an amusing way to bypass that scene (and get on to the rest of a pretty good story).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Romantic Civil War Drama, July 6 2004
By 
Vagabond77 (Tennessee, USA) - See all my reviews
Set during the Civil War, Inma (Jude Law) and Ada (Nicole Kidman) meet briefly, fall in love instantly, and then are seperated as Inamn enlists to fight in the war. Inamn becomes sick of fighting, gets wounded and deserts. Along the rest of the movie is spent with Inman traveling, meeting odd and terrible people. No and then he also meets some (like Philip Seymore Hoffman and Natalie Portman) who are in trouble and assists them. Meanwhile, back in Cold Mountain, N.C., Ada's father (Donald Sutherland) dies and she must fend for herself. She eventually gets help from very fiesty Ruby (Renee Zellwegger). She now must contend with brutal sheriff and his psycho deputys who use finding deserters to reclaim his family's former property. The movie is really good. The acting is all top notch, especially Zellwegger, what a spit-fire. Law gives a quiet, thoughtful performance as sensitive, disillusioned soilder (modeled rather strongly after Odysseus). I have liked Law a lo, and this is his best role so far. Nicole Kidman seems to be ageless. She is as beautiful now as she was in the '80s. Natalie Portman is ok in her brief role. Philip Seymore Hoffman is a funny baffoon who accompanies Inman on some of his travels. If there is a down side it is this; "Cold Mountain" is 2 hours and 30 minutes long. For the most part it isn't that bad. But everynow and then, you start to feel the excessive length. But over all, this is a wonderful romantic Civil War drama; maybe not the classsic of "Gone with the Wind" (also not as soap operaly over melodramtic), but it is great in it's own right.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy of watching, July 6 2004
This is a good movie i can easily see this being nominated and winning best picture of the year. It has a great ending that concludes the whole movie and sets things right. This film is about a young confederate (enmond) played by jude law falls nfor a young lady ada played by nicole kidman. when she is visting her father in the small north carolina town Cold Mountain. He doesnt spenmd too much time with ada before everyone is drafted out into the civil war. He really doesnt want to leave her but he has to. He gets severly injured in a battle of teh trenches and almost dies and then he realizes he cant die without seeing his love ada again.Well back in Cold mountain ada hires ruby played by renae zellweger who is a country girl that knows how to farm and becomes good friends with ada. But enmond has to go through a long perilous journey to try to get back to ada and who knows who he will run into and how will he evoid the yankees plus the watcher who look for runaways and they kill any of them they can find.So will enmond ever reach ada again? Will enmond even survive the journey home to Cold Mountain? Will ada be able to take the long wait for her love enmond to come home ? its a Great movie. At first it is a little slow taht is why im only giving it a 4 star but after about 30 minutes into the movie it all starts coming together an becomes a great tale and also a great novel it is . This is defenately worthy of watching
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Darn Good, But Not Great, July 5 2004
By A Customer
I really enjoyed this movie in the theatre and eagerly awaited the DVD release. Although I must say, as much as I enjoy movies with war themes, this one is not high on my list of favorites. Nonetheless, I wont think twice in playing it for guests in my home. The cinematography is fabulous and the supporting cast is great. However, what holds this movie back is the stale relationship between the main characters Inman and Ada. The chemistry between Law and Kidman is totally absent, perhaps in-part by a script which never allows them to develop any sense of a true love. If their love is simply an emotional concept that propells the "idea of love", the script fails to deliver any insight within their respective characters to provide a basis for their assumed attachment. Inman lacks any form of appeal which makes Ada's adoration seem impossible. That being said, the movie is entertaining with a very interesting and enjoyable supporting cast. Most noteworthy is Ruby (Zellwegger) who steals each scene in which she appears. My favorite character is the Preacher who is very entertaining despite the brevity of his screen time. And like many of the Amazon reviewers, I agree, the ending basically sucks.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Scold Manhood, July 5 2004
Many people seem to like this movie, and I am almost one of them. But there are things wrong with it that surface after as it digests, like a tasty meal tainted with ptomaine. A careful viewer may catch the signs of it as the film progresses, things that an optimistic moviegoer will just push aside to be swept up in the story. In the end these faults turn a respectable effort into a pile of cliches.
For its benefit, Nicole Kidman turns in a fine performance. She makes you wish the story was better. Renee Zellweger has gotten raves for her character, but I kept being reminded of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm all grown up. I like her and Jude Law but I wouldn't recommend this film in regard to them. Jude gets plenty of screentime but his character is so restrained, you hardly get to know him. And that brings me to the foul, tainted meat of this grandscale meal.
Cold Mountain is visciously anti-male. It makes a point of how stupid men are that they go to war and then conveniently side-steps the slavery issue or as the South saw it, a fight for independence. So is it saying that enslavement is better than fighting for freedom? In this way it actually reduces the women characters as incapable of seeing the Big Picture beyond home and hearth. The scene with Natalie Portman at first seems a refreshing avoidance of the politically correct "Yankees/good guys, Rebs/bad guys" of the last few decades, but when placed in the entire context of the movie becomes more of its latent theme: Men are Stupid, Bad, and Only Needed for Continuing the Species. So killing Yankees, since they are men, is no big deal. The tiresome and overworked Hollywood plot device of "man sleep with woman, then he die" (As I noted with "The Missing") is embraced at the end to my total disappointment because it was so obvious it was going to happen. When Jude and Nicole decide to "marry", I knew it was his last cigarette before the firing squad. All the hell and high water he'd gone through and any hope for an original ending was for nothing.
It would be interesting to watch the film over just for the body count, because it seems virtually ALL the men die! Just think about it and add up the bodies. By the end, it seems the only men left in the county are Renee's father and husband. And consider them: the father has bowed to his daughter's expectations of him, and the husband is docile to his wife. In the final scene he is even serving her at the table. As a last dig at the futility of masculinity, both the offsprings of Nicole and Renee favor the mother's appearance.
Certainly, Cold Mountain is a beautiful film to watch. But the ideas within its plot are disturbing. It is at its worst when the women, such as Renee, rant against the stupidity of men and war, as if the women, simply because they don't participate in any bayonet charges, are guiltless. Look into the history of the Civil War and you'll find the upper-class women urged their men to fight to protect their lavish antebellum lifestyle. It is at its best in brief scenes such as the goat woman interlude. That was poignant and extraordinary. So I don't discount the movie entirely, but its inherent theme against men distracts me so much, I probably won't watch it again.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Almost Classic, July 4 2004
By 
Matthew Horner (USA) - See all my reviews
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"Cold Mountain" is exquisite, as defined as 'of delicate artistry and composition" or as "of extreme beauty'. Its roots go back to the sweeping epics of long ago, such as "Dr. Zhivago" and "Gone With the Wind". Moviegoers addicted to fast food and instant gratification may find it slow and even tedious. More patient viewers, however, should be enthralled. In the end, "Cold Mountain" does not quite achieve the artistic heights its makers were aiming for, but its many moments of great beauty and emotion make it a worthwhile effort. It is one of 2003's best releases.
Unlike its epic predecessors, "Cold Mountain" does not take place in a great capitol like Atlanta or Moscow. It centers in a very small town in a sparsely populated region of North Carolina. It is a 'forgotten' part of the American Civil War. Its protagonists, Ada Monroe [Nicole Kidman] and Inman [Jude Law], do not know each other well. Ada has recently moved to Cold Mountain from Charleston, SC with her preacher father. It may be love at first sight, but Ada and Inman barely have time to get to know each other before the war separates them. Inman goes off to fight, and, when Ada's father unexpectedly dies, she is left to tend their farm, a task which her classical education upbringing leaves her ill prepared for. A kind and knowing neighbor sends her a backwoods girl [Renee Zelllweger] to help out. As the war years drag on, Ada and Inman, caught up in worlds they do not understand, cling to each other as symbols of hope. Hardly knowing each other, each must fantasize about the other. Theirs is a love of the first magnitude.
The cast is brilliant, but Zellweger steals the show. It could be because she is the only major cast member who is actually from the American South. [But, then, Vivian Leigh was from England, and she stole the show in "Gone With the Wind".] I think it more likely that Ms. Zellweger is an extraordinary actress who can outdo other extraordinary actors like Ms. Kidman and Mr. Law.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking Civil War love story, July 4 2004
By 
Peggy Vincent "author and reader" (Oakland, CA) - See all my reviews
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Inman's odyssey, his epic journey to return to his love waiting for him on Cold Mountain, forms the backbone of this story. Inman, played by Jude Law with admirable silence and restraint, is on a trek of the highest magnitude, walking across mountain after mountain, hiding from and sometimes fighting off the murderous Home Guard, and hiding from and sometimes fighting off equally miserable Union soldiers.
Ada (Nicole Kidman), Inman's love, is the daughter of a Charleston preacher who moved to Cold Mt "for his health and on his doctor's advice," right before the war began. He dies, leaving Adam raised to be a lady with no practical skills whatsoever, to fend for herself as the South loses and loses and loses. The farm is on the brink of being reclaimed by the surrounding woods when onto the property walks Ruby, Renée Zellweger. She lacks all the social graces that Ada possesses, but she's got what, today, we'd call "street cred": the girl knows how to slaughter a chicken, build a fence, till a field, whatever.
The movie flips back and forth between Inman's Odyssean journey (during which he meets every kind of person, place, animal, and thing) toward home and Ada and Ruby's attempts to try to insure that there's such a thing as home for him to return to.
It's the stuff of a good old-fashioned romantic epic.
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2.0 out of 5 stars www.filmwiseguy.funtigo.com, July 3 2004
By 
Kelvin H. (miami, florida United States) - See all my reviews
In "Cold Mountain," director Anthony Minghella wants us to believe in the love between Inman (Jude Law) and Ada (Nicole Kidman) but has nothing to prove it. For the most part of the movie they are kept distant and communicating only through letters, mostly from Ada, as she voiceovers her sappy messages that suggests that she has read her poetry but has yet to master its significance and proper usage. Their relationship begins awkwardly and unconvincingly, sharing no insight into the background of both Inman and Ada, and we do not understand nor are we hinted at about their desire for one another. Except for one piece of excerpt that seems to be written because it has not been written before, as Inman prepares to leave for the Civil War and suggests Ada to leave Cold Mountain and she something in the vicinity of, "Then there won't be anyone waiting for you."
Kidman and Law are less than adequate in this film. Law, who got an underserved Academy nomination, contains little emotion and energy and misplaced. Kidman plays Ada a little more passionately but even she seems more like a mere imitation. Both Law and Kidman seem more affixed with getting their southern accent done properly, and not even that do they triumph at. Rene Zellwegger, who won the Oscar for Ruby, is actually the only flare to this film. She is funny, loud, and crude and certainly a good addition to balance out the blandness of Kidman and Law. Yet, her Oscar is underserved because Ruby is too one-dimensional and seems more like a caricature trying to jumpstart a boring party.
In the commercial for "Cold Mountain," one critic said it's the "best Civil War movie of all times." I can refute it in so many ways but the main argument is that the Cold War is a minor detail in this movie. Throughout the film, Minghella only suggests the importance of the love between these two protagonists and offers no statement about the war. Once in a while the war is being questioned but there are many things that are not attentively mentioned such as issues of slavery. "Cold Mountain" is fashionably dressed by Minghella's artistry, which I admire, but the lack of sentimentality makes this a disappointing Civil War film.
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