There is a distinct difference between a survival story, and a cheesy romance. While there may be instances in which the two can mix together (I’m sure it does in the novel), that is not the case with The Mountain Between Us. The film stars Idris Elba and Kate Winslet. Winslet plays Alex Martin, a photographer on her way home for her wedding. Idris plays Ben Bass, a neurosurgeon who needs to fly back home in time to meet one of his patients. Their flight is cancelled, and Alex offers Ben a ride in a helicopter, so they can both make it home on time. Before this, they had never met before, and just as they are getting to know each other, the copter crashes onto a deserted snowy mountain range. They struggle for survival, and embark on a dangerous journey to find civilization.
This sounds like a riveting story at first, and it would have been if the film has been what was expected. About forty minutes into the movie, it takes a one-hundred-eighty-degree spin and turns into a cheesy romance that just doesn’t work. First, they are grown adults and the romance between them felt like teenagers in a Nicholas Sparks romance novel. Secondly, there was no indication it would turn into a romance. There were no gazes between the characters and no romantically implied dialogue. None of this occurred until it was too late. We had already established them as friends who were trying to survive, and nothing more. For a romance to work, there has to be at least something from the beginning that will make us think something may happen between them.
The cringeworthy dialogue is what took it over the edge. The movie is full of overly dramatic lines that nobody on Earth would ever say, making it incredibly unrealistic. It is almost as though the movie is trying to be more dramatic than it possibly can be. At one point, Ben asks Alex to take a picture of him because he wants it to be his last picture before he dies. Alex then proceeds to dramatically tell us a sad story about how she took a picture of a dying woman once. It is supposed to make us sad…. I think. The movie also hides Ben’s past from us, teasing his character. It is supposed to make us wonder why he is the way he is, but when we find out, it is underwhelming.
While The Mountain Between Us is pretty much a god-awful movie, it can be enjoyable at some parts. First, it stars two fantastic actors. The performances are still underwhelming but that is only due to the nature of the directing and the dialogue. It can still be enjoyable to watch Kate Winslet and Idris Elba attempt to have a laughable romance. Secondly, the survival aspect of the movie can be fun, and it is easy to find yourself rooting for the to get to safety. But these are moot points unless you are willing to waste your money.
Rated PG-13 for a scene of sexuality, peril, injury images, and brief strong language.