A/V Room









Cold Mountain - US reaction

Compiled by: Jack Foley

US critics have warmed to Cold Mountain since it opened over the holiday period, furthering its chances of Oscar success.

The film, which has already been nominated for the most amount of Golden Globes next year, was described by Time Magazine as ‘the year's most rapturous love story’.

And while most critics could find some fault with elements of the movie, the majority ended up finding something positive to write.

Hence, the Boston Globe noted that ‘three quarters of Cold Mountain consist of some of the most masterful and absorbing film-making of the year’.

While USA Today wrote that ‘watching this movie, it seems to be the next level down from great -- maybe too episodic. But it burns in the memory weeks after you see it’.

CNN applauded director, Anthony Minghella, for ‘once again… achieving the miracle of transforming a difficult book, with an inner narrative, into a deeply satisfying film’.

While the Los Angeles Times wrote: "An unabashed romantic, Minghella takes to Ada and Inman's love story with appreciable feeling, but the irony of Cold Mountain is that it's the director's grasp of violent action that proves his greatest cinematic gift."

Even more glowing was Newsday, which wrote ‘that the film Cold Mountain is so much better than the best-selling Charles Frazier novel makes it quite the rare thing - only The Godfather comes immediately to mind as an example of a major movie that so surpasses its source material’.

And the New York Times opined that ‘as they might have said in the old days, this sweeping, historical romance is one heck of a classy picture, which is both its great virtue and its limitation’.

Still positive, was Entertainment Weekly, which referred to it as ‘a willed exercise in mythmaking’, while the Houston Chronicle described it as ‘a beautiful tale, tragic and mournful’.

Of those that found fault, the Globe & Mail stated that ‘the dazzle doesn't add up to the sustained act of brilliance I'd been expecting. For all its many strengths, the picture ultimately feels like a mild -- and I emphasize mild – disappointment’.

While the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that ‘at 154 minutes, Cold Mountain is long and seems long, at times inspired, at times merely dutiful. But in most of the important ways, it succeeds’.

Of the negatives, the New York Daily News opined that ‘there is something distancing about the film, and I don’t refer to the Romanian mountains standing for North Carolina’s Blue Ridge’.

And the Chicago Tribune noted that ‘in terms of pedigree and sheer, lush filmmaking, the movie has class written all over it. And that's part of the problem’.

While the Washington Post noted that while ‘it's enough of a spectacle to enjoy... It's too bad the stars are little more than serviceable and give the movie title an irony it could certainly do without’.

But the word was generally very strong, with Rolling Stone noting that it is ‘one stunner of a movie’, and the Philadelphia Inquirer writing that ‘Cold Mountain is the equivalent of comfort food: old-fashioned, earthy, satisfying’.

Variety felt that it was ‘handsomely made and vividly acted’, while the New York Post wrote that it is ‘an exquisitely crafted Civil War epic that combines the epic romantic sweep of Gone With the Wind with a more intimate voice that speaks eloquently to the war-weary nation of today’.

But the final word goes to the New York Observer, which concluded that it ‘blends every aspect of film-making - sets, costumes, camerawork, acting, lighting, writing, editing and technology - to tell mythic stories of love, death, courage, honor, loss and survival on the battlefield and on the home front in the 1860's’.

Cold Mountain also got off to a good start at the US Xmas box office, charting at number three, with $14.5 million for the weekend, and $19 million for the four days. It cost $80 million to make.

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