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3.9 out of 5 stars117
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on July 3, 2004
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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on July 2, 2004
Anthony Minghella's "Cold Mountain" had almost no realism. It was very heavily contrived and its connections with the civil war were not well done. The story was not well done except in pieces. It is one of a preacher's daughter who is love with a soldier in the war. The battle scenes are not realistic. The civil war scenes were artificial without any of the war related tactics or the generals giving directions. Even the hatred between the south and north did not have the passion. Anthony Minghella should study his history before making his movie, like reading on Civil War biographies, starting from Margeret Mitchell. I had to fast forward and see the whole movie. The only parts worthwhile were small and too few in between.
By authentic I mean utterly artificial. Mr. Minghella, who can be overly solemn in pursuit of realism, is, thank goodness, also entranced by the beauty of exotic landscapes and the charisma of movie stars. Ms. Kidman, playing Ada Monroe, a citified preacher's daughter stranded in the remote hamlet of Cold Mountain, N.C., has never been lovelier, and her radiance at once challenges your disbelief and compels you to suspend it. Even dressed in cast-off men's clothes and struggling against the rigors of 19th-century rural life, she looks as if she had stepped from the pages of a glossy magazine, her eyebrows and cuticles painstakingly attended to. This incongruity makes the movie appear ridiculous.
The gothic landscape of Romania (beautifully photographed by John Seale) stands in for the hills and hollows of western North Carolina, and the plain country people who inhabit the novel's mock-folksy episodes are impersonated onscreen by a platoon of well-respected actors, many of them British, who drawl their vowels and clip their consonants into approximations of Southern American dialect. The artificality is appalling.
Renee Zelweger does a good job but it is a travesty to give her an oscar for this considering that she has done an outstanding job in so many other movies. I realize that one cannot compare one year's movies with another year. But the fact that this won an oscar while a movie like "Shawshank Redemption" did not win even one goes to show how lost the academy is. To summarize, this movie is a sheer waste of time.
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on June 30, 2004
A perfect example of what happens when Hollywood thinks they have solid gold on their hands. A prize-winning book, a bestseller! Get that director of 'The English Patient'! Let's get all the A-listers . . . Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellwegger, Jude Law . . . Let's fill those supporting slots with all-stars, all the way! But you know what, the script is pretty weak. The directing is heavy-handed. How many times do they have to wave that American flag in the battle scene? Oh, the tragedy, this was America, this was America, weep weep weep. What in the hell is Nicole Kidman doing with Platinum blonde hair during the Civil War? And the lipstick . . . that has to be the most anachronistic shade ever. Now I know that Hollywood is tough on middle-aged women, but do they really have to Botox actresses half to death so they can dress up as youthful Southern Belles? The real winner in this film is that messy overgrown garden, one of the sole points of reality to be found in this film. Perhaps my problems lie with the novel as well. Is there any man alive, having faced death so closely, on a fool's errand, that would pass up on love-starved women on every other corner? Please. This film is way overrated. And Renee Zellwegger, a good actress, may have deserved a pat on the back for a job well done and for all the money she made doing it. But an Academy Award? Only in Hollywood.
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on July 7, 2004
I gave this film two stars, one for Kidman the other for Zellwigger, as for the story itself the brutality of Inman's odysseian journey back to Ada overwhelms their unbelievable romantic attachment to each other. Director Minghella fails utterly in making their love come convincingly to life in the way David Lean did with Yuri and Lara in "Dr Zhivago", so the viewer is subjected to one horrific episode of brutality after another without the reward of genuine fulfillment at the end, and ironically it is Ada who lures Inman into his journey of ultimate self-destruction with her letter pleading with him to desert and come back to her. At the conclusion I felt only revulsion at the detailed portrayal of the brutalities and emptiness for Ada and Inman.
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on July 6, 2004
Perhaps some of your reviewers are not familiar with Homer's Odyssey, on which this movie is based. Cold Mountain tells us little about the Civil War, just as the Odyssey tells us little about the Trojan War (that was in the Iliad, the basis of another recent movie). The parallelism between CM and the Odyssey is lame and stilted, even down to some tacky Sirens! Odysseus finally arrives home to confront his wife's suitors, just as Inman does. The Odyssey tells us little about Odysseus' relation to his wife, so it is hardly surprising that the relationship between Inman and Ada in CM is a blank. It may have seemed a good idea to turn the Odyssey into CM; but the result is disappointing.
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on July 3, 2004
What can I say? This movie was excellent up until the ending, which ruined for me and a lot of friends and aquaintances I talked with concerning it... Right from the get go, it had me! I felt the acting, cinematography and everything was outstanding, even the story. I will keep this short, because the movie doesn't deserve much after it's horrid ending, which totally destroys the entire story. The ending is kind of like ripping the frame (foundation) out of a house, while thinking it won't crumble! Definitely worth seeing, but just once; if you like sad and boring (over done and cliche) endings you'll love it...
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on July 13, 2004
I was excited about watching this film seeing how it got high reviews but there were two scenes in it that were totally uncalled for. The "sex scenes" or in my opinion "soft core porn" should have been omitted. It took away from the movie completely. I had NO idea these scenes were in this movie. There is also a lot of killing but then again it is based during the Civil War, which made the movie very dark. The acting was, in my opinion, superb that's why I continued to watch the movie. I agree with another review Nicole's face looked so tight. Almost as if she just left her plastic surgeon.
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on July 6, 2004
It was good up to a point...but then it just went on and on and on and got to be pretentious and all-suffering, in the same way that "The English Patient Was." DIE ALREADY, Elaine called out from the audience in that "Seinfeld" episode. And by the way, for a southern Civil War epic...where were all the black people? One more note to filmmakers: you do not need to keep Nicole Kidman in full makeup and perfectly styled hair when she is supposedly starving.
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on July 3, 2004
This is a totally disappointing movie. With all this talent, much might be expected. But everyone is just going through the motions. The two principals are incredibly listless (as though they kept thinking "Why on earth am I in this movie?"); only Renee Zellweger has any energy, in a dramatically unrewarding part. This movie lacks heart. That the two principals are not going to live happily ever after is completely predictable. And frankly who cares?
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on July 6, 2004
This movie was very long and very depressing. I think I cried for half of the movie. It seemed to be billed as a Civil War movie but, it was less like a Civil War movie than Gone with the Wind. This movie was a love story and a very tortured one at that. Do yourself a favor and don't watch it!
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