Thursday, September 28, 2017

The reviews are in for The Mountain Between Us starring Idris Elba & Kate Winslet but do they get it?

I’ve just read two crappy reviews for The Mountain Between Us starring Idris Elba and Kate Winslet which opens next Friday, October 6th.  That’s the movie based on Charles Martin’s novel about a pair of strangers whose small plane crashes in the mountains in the middle of a snowstorm.  No one knows where they are, it’s up to them to save themselves.
It’s fantastically unrealistic stuff from the first minute to the last (and there are far too many minutes between them), but Idris Elba and Kate Winslet generate enough heat to keep the frostbite at bay, and Mandy Walker’s stunning location cinematography ensures that the film looks considerably more authentic than it feels.~David Ehrlich, Indie-Wire
Ehrlich also wonders what makes ‘‘the imminent bride want to spend the day with an obscenely handsome stranger?’’ 


Ha! Idris Elba fans around the world are laughing. Are you serious, Mr. Ehrlich?  

But seriously, if you read the book, and if the movie was true to the book (which it doesn’t sound as if it is), the reason the bride to be spends the day with that obscenely handsome stranger is because he has chartered a private plane and offers her a ride. It’s the only way she can get to where she needs to be, on time. It’s as logical a reason as any. In the book, if it’s a contrivance, it’s a tiny one, and forgiven in the genre. Look, The Mountain Between Us is based on what is essentially a romance novel—one I enjoyed—which at times descends into Nicholas Sparks territory. It’s a fantasy no more or less believable than Noah in The Notebook building a house just for Allie. Just as I don’t watch X-Men films looking for realism, you can’t read a book or watch a film like this, expecting it to be something other than what it is, a romantic escape movie.


Between its beautiful stars and panoramic vistas, this gorgeous-looking Fox production offers plenty of scenery to ogle, but not much else for the brain to do while Winslet and Elba alternately bicker and bond in what amounts to a fairly routine wilderness trek — minus wolves, avalanches, frostbite or any of the challenges that typically make such things interesting. Instead, true to the eminently skimmable novel on which it’s based (Charles Martin writes like a child. In sentences without subjects. Or verbs.), the central questions are, first, whether the pair will survive, and then, more bizarrely, whether the experience will forge them into a romantic couple.~Peter Dubruge, Variety
I learned from Debruge that the movie definitely does not follow the book. While the novel is told from Ben’s POV, the movie centers on Kate Winslet’s character. She is the one to charter the plane, she’s the focus. And while in the book, she is truly helpless—flat on her back, Dr. Ben even has to help her go to the bathroom—here, she seems to have just a badly broken leg. 



It sounds like the screenwriters (two men) were attempting to answer our current concern with the role of women in film, needing them to be stronger, more fully realized. It sounds like what these male writers didn’t realize is that rescue fantasy is deeply embedded in the DNA—FANTASY being the key word. In our real life relationships, the healthy ones anyway, we take care of each other, we know men and women take turns being the strong one, sometimes I lean on him, sometimes he leans on me. Sometimes he leads, sometimes I do. It depends on our strength in any given situation BUT it’s fun to fantasize about a life where you lie back and relax and leave the responsibilities and tough decisions to someone else.

I wonder if the movie is as mediocre as these two men who reviewed it think it is, or if their expectations and interests just don’t always jive with mine? 

I don’t know about you, but when I think of a book as a beach read, I don’t expect Great Expectations, I expect adventure, a bit of romance, escape. Anyhoo .... since it is the obscenely handsome Idris Elba and the always winsome Kate Winslet, I will be watching The Mountain Between Us. They may be right, the film may be a snore, but woman to woman, I want to see for myself.



And one more thing from Debruge’s review

Script shortcomings aside, Winslet and Elba make a reasonably good couple. He’s far manlier than practically any of the other male stars working today, but etched with a sensitive side that comes out when it’s finally revealed why he seems less concerned about his wife than she does her fiancĂ©.


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