Reviews - Cold Mountain (2003)
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Cold Mountain (2003)

Genres: Adventure, Drama, History

Taglines: Find the strength. Find the courage. No matter what it takes... find the way home.

Director: Anthony Minghella

Writers: Charles Frazier, Anthony Minghella

Stars: Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renée Zellweger, Eileen Atkins, ...

This Civil War saga addresses romance, friendship, and the ravages of war--both in the field and on the home front. Captures the horrors of war for both those fighting it, and for those left behind. This is a tale of hope, longing, redemption, second chances, and faith.

100 | David Ansen

As he did in “The English Patient,” Minghella artfully weds movie-movie romanticism with a dark historical vision. The man knows how to cast a spell.
Read More: Newsweek

100 | K.J. Doughton

As he did with “The English Patient,” director Minghella performs a miraculous juggling act, balancing his epic, sweeping story with the subtleties of character and detail that make Cold Mountain breathe.
Read More: Film Threat

100 | Richard Corliss

A grand and poignant movie epic about what is lost in war and what's worth saving in life. It is also a rare blend of purity and maturity -- the year's most rapturous love story.
Read More: Time

100 | Stephen Hunter

It's funny, it's heartbreaking, it's scary, it's exhilarating. It's got love stuff and lots of laughs and cool gunfights. It's really long and it feels like it's over in 15 minutes. It does something so few movies do these days: It satisfies.
Read More: Washington Post

100 | Angie Errigo

As he did with "The English Patient," Minghella has reshaped the novel’s structure, zeroed in on what matters cinematically and dramatically upped the emotional stakes.
Read More: Empire

90 | Kirk Honeycutt

A somber, often downbeat depiction of human savagery and treachery as well as of human kindness. Writer-director Anthony Minghella has meticulously crafted an intimate epic.
Read More: The Hollywood Reporter


A much better movie about the South during the Civil War than “Gone with the Wind”--visionary, erotic, and tragic where the older movie is flossy, merely ambitious and self-important. [22 & 29 December 2003, p. 166]

90 | Bill Gallo

In the end, what Minghella has wrought is a nearly perfect drama of love and war (still the great subjects, after all), an epic that's fluent, frightening and beautiful all at once, that lifts the heart and dashes our dreams in about equal measure.
Read More: Dallas Observer

89 | Kimberley Jones

A rare achievement.
Read More: Austin Chronicle

88 | Lou Lumenick

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.
Read More: New York Post

88 | Peter Travers

The specter of war haunts Cold Mountain, but you remember it for the heat of its romantic yearning and the mysteries that wrap themselves around you until you're lost in another world.
Read More: Rolling Stone

88 | Mike Clark

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.
Read More: USA Today

88 | Ty Burr

Three quarters of Cold Mountain consist of some of the most masterful and absorbing filmmaking of the year. The final quarter is Hollywood business as usual.
Read More: Boston Globe

80 | Todd McCarthy

A grim picaresque odyssey across a beautiful scarred landscape laced together by private romantic longing. Handsomely made and vividly acted.
Read More: Variety

80 | Jonathan Rosenbaum

Kidman and Zellweger are uncommonly good, and I especially liked the timely treatment of war as universally brutalizing: even the outcomes of battles are ignored, as are the motives behind the conflict.
Read More: Chicago Reader

80 | Dana Stevens

The result is a mountain of honest, nourishing corn, a lavish evocation of simplicity that, for all its showy sophistication, has an appealing emotional directness. For all its sweep and scope and movie-star magic, Cold Mountain is studded with fine small moments and deft supporting performances.
Read More: The New York Times

80 | Scott Tobias

Though Law and Kidman spend much of the movie apart, Minghella and ace editor Walter Murch arrange their interweaving subplots like a running dialogue between two lovers, each compelled to survive on the thin hope that they'll be reunited.
Read More: The A.V. Club

75 | James Berardinelli

It's certainly a successful adaptation, features numerous memorable performances (mostly by the supporting players), and is worth a post-holiday expenditure of time and money.
Read More: ReelViews

75 | Roger Ebert

By the end of the film, you admire the artistry and the care, you know that the actors worked hard and are grateful for their labors, but you wonder who in God's name thought this was a promising scenario for a movie. It's not a story, it's an idea.
Read More: Chicago Sun-Times

75 | Mick LaSalle

This is what makes the distinctly unromantic Cold Mountain' such a breath of fresh air. Its battles are hideous bloodbaths.
Read More: San Francisco Chronicle

75 | Rick Groen

All the signs pointed to a major movie achievement...And it does -- sometimes, and dazzlingly so. But the dazzle doesn't add up to the sustained act of brilliance I'd been expecting.
Read More: The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

75 | Steven Rea

Cold Mountain is the equivalent of comfort food: old-fashioned, earthy (lots of root vegetables), satisfying.
Read More: Philadelphia Inquirer

75 | William Arnold

Minghella does a good job of dashing any lingering image you might have of the Civil War as a conflict fought along neat geometric battle lines with the nobility of Appomattox.
Read More: Seattle Post-Intelligencer

70 | Peter Rainer

Cold Mountain has some marvelous, intimate moments and a real feeling, at times, for the loss that war engenders, but it also has more than its share of hokum--which would be more entertaining if the hokum were juicier.
Read More: New York Magazine (Vulture)

70 | Ella Taylor

Zellweger looks like a big movie star roughing it à la Paris Hilton, and as if this weren't distracting enough, the hills are alive with big acting names from both sides of the Atlantic who pop up as help or hindrance to Inman's pilgrim's progress while straining, with variable success, for credible Southern twangs.
Read More: L.A. Weekly

70 | David Edelstein

Good, sometimes thrilling, but it's less a war epic than an evocative romantic melodrama with a patchy first hour.
Read More: Slate

70 | Desson Thomson

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.
Read More: Washington Post

70 | Stanley Kauffmann

This picture is an odd misadventure: a gigantic enterprise that, despite some quite exceptional filming, is thwarted by its two leading actors.
Read More: The New Republic

67 | Owen Gleiberman

Minghella's adaptation of the 1997 Charles Frazier novel is emotionally detached and almost too studiously carpentered: a willed exercise in mythmaking.
Read More: Entertainment Weekly

67 | Shawn Levy

A handsome work of impressive sweep dotted with fine performances. It offers a few fine moments of wit, fear and emotional intimacy. But it rarely pulses with vital life.
Read More: Portland Oregonian

63 | Mark Caro

This Civil War epic romance is exquisitely shot, lovingly designed and populated with talented name actors. In terms of pedigree and sheer, lush filmmaking, the movie has class written all over it. And that's part of the problem.
Read More: Chicago Tribune

63 | Jack Mathews

Minghella has certainly mounted a gorgeous movie and the battle scenes are brutally spectacular. But overall, "Cold Mountain" is like a fine piece of hand-crafted leather, where the stitching shows its quality. That looks good on a handbag, not so good on the big screen.
Read More: New York Daily News

63 | Rene Rodriguez

These two fine, talented actors share a fatal lack of chemistry together, and it's a flaw this grandly ambitious movie cannot overcome.
Read More: Miami Herald

60 | J. Hoberman

A big fat war movie and a tender love story. Indeed, Cold Mountain is something of an uneasy struggle between the two modes.
Read More: Village Voice

60 | Manohla Dargis

There are not one, but two wars raging inside this adaptation: one between the North and the South, and another, more calamitous war between art and middlebrow entertainment.
Read More: Los Angeles Times

60 | Maitland McDonagh

Allows the supporting cast to steal the movie.
Read More: TV Guide Magazine

50 | Lawrence Toppman

Leaving the book aside, how well does the picture fare? Middingly, and in fits and starts.
Read More: Charlotte Observer

50 | Stephanie Zacharek

Cold Mountain is a romance, refreshingly free from the taint of any political realities other than the "War is hell" variety. It's also completely juiceless.
Read More:

50 | David Sterritt

The fine cast is also misused -- especially Kidman, who looks as unruffled at the end of her torments as before they began, and Zellweger, who does a job of overacting that might have gotten rejected by "The Beverly Hillbillies."
Read More: Christian Science Monitor

38 | Michael Sragow

The result is a flabby, episodic phantasmagoria.
Read More: Baltimore Sun