Hot Take: If soap operas featured A-list actors The Mountain Between Us would have been one of those soap opera subplots that stretched out for 2-3 weeks. (Don’t worry… the dog lives!)
The Mountain Between Us, the adult fairy tale disguised as a survival thriller, has two things strongly going for it: Kate Winslet and Idris Elba. The movie wouldn’t work without them. For much of the film, it feels like an overlong Nicholas Sparks set up. The harrowing tale has some flimsy twists and turns once the plane goes down in the mountains which happens a few minutes into the film. The rest of the film features Winslet and Elba trying to survive the harsh, wintry conditions of the mountains. Both of the actors turn in a great performance despite the limitations of the film.
When Ben Bass (Idris Elba) and Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) have their flights cancelled due to inclement weather, Alex befriends Ben and finds a charter plane to fly them to their eventual destination. Bass is a neurosurgeon who has a surgery the next day and Martin is a photojournalist who needs to get to her wedding. Walter (Beau Bridges), the pilot, also brings along his dog which actually becomes somewhat important to the plot. During the flight, the pilot suffers a stroke and the plane goes down in the High Uintas Wilderness. While the pilot dies, both Ben and Alex and, of course, the dog survive the crash. Alex suffers a leg injury but there’s luckily a doctor on her plane to take care of her. The rest of the film features Ben and Alex who bond through their harrowing experience and become closer as it becomes more unlikely they will survive the harsh elements of the wilderness.
Is The Mountain Between Us any good though? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for. With Elba and Winslet, you get two game performers who work well together and present a somewhat believable romance despite a less believable story of survival. I never got a good gauge on how long these two were in the wilderness together and by the feel of the film, you could tell me it was over a month and I’d have a hard time arguing against it other than the limited amount of food they had available to them. Eventually, romance blooms which when translated means the two get it on. It’s not quite the steamy car scene from Titanic but it should make fans of Elba happy enough as they live vicariously through Winslet.
There’s plenty of flaws to point out in the film but with Elba and Winslet putting in extra effort to carry the story along, it’s hard to focus on all of the negatives. Even if you’re not a fan, you at least still have the elements to root for to win out. Worst case scenario, you can root for the dog to survive. Because who doesn’t love a dog in a movie, right? For what it’s worth, I enjoyed watching Elba and Winslet play off of each other on screen and thought The Mountain Between Us was mildly entertaining. It’s not the most engaging film in recent memory but it semi-delivers an hour and 40 minutes of entertainment.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- Heartthrob Fan Fiction
While they still might be waiting for Elba eventually being featured as People’s Sexiest Man Alive!, fans of Elba have their own film to live through the lead actress as who wouldn’t want to get trapped in the wilderness with Idris Elba. (Heck, The Mountain Between Us social media team designed a whole ad campaign around it!)
- For Those Who Loved Winslet In Titanic…
It’s been 20 years since Titanic hit theaters… December 19, 1997 to be exact. Winslet’s character in The Mountain Between Us has many of the same charms of Rose and this time, she really never lets go… or does she?
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- A Real Sense of Snow
There’s an abundance of white powder in the film and we’re not talking Scarface. Bring a jacket because you might get a bit cold just watching these two try to survive the frigid conditions.