ShareThis Page

Review: 'The Mountain Between Us' is a Harlequin-worthy romance masquerading as an adventure film

| Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, 10:51 a.m.

Most of us, in the lives we've chosen to lead, are highly unlikely to find ourselves stranded on a mountaintop with Idris Elba. This is something with which we must all, in our own individual ways, find peace. But, for those still holding on to the dream, here comes “The Mountain Between Us,” a Harlequin-worthy romantic fantasy masquerading as an outdoor-adventure film - and an example of a very silly movie almost transformed by the skill of the two actors at its center.

Photojournalist Alex (Kate Winslet) and neurosurgeon Ben (Elba) are strangers at an Idaho airport as the movie begins; however, faster than you can say “Umm, what?,” their flights are canceled and they're buckling up in a private chartered plane, flown by a folksy fellow (Beau Bridges) with an ominous cough and a casual attitude toward filing flight plans. (Why are they in such a hurry? Alex is getting married the next day ­­— yes, I know — and Ben has Important Surgery in the morning.) And, just like that - crash! The pilot's dead (but his cute dog isn't), and Ben and Alex are stranded on a snowy mountain, with little food, no cell reception and no one knowing their whereabouts.

This is all more than a little contrived (really? a dog?), but this is just the first few minutes; “The Mountain Between Us” has much more in store. Let me just say that superheroes have nothing on Ben, who not only is a neurosurgeon who looks like Idris Elba but who knows how to build fires, find cutely romantic caves and cozy abandoned cabins, rig up makeshift IVs in medical emergencies, perform thrilling rescue missions and maintain impeccable grooming despite several weeks without a shower. And Alex? Well, she talks a lot (somebody needs to; he's the strong/silent/brooding type). The dog is just a dog.

In the hands of lesser actors I shudder to think of what a slog “The Mountain Between Us” might be, with its endless catastrophes and near-deaths and melodramatic declarations. But Winslet - who gets her own superhero moment near the end - and Elba are so likable and charismatic together, they just about sell it. You want them to be together; you want them to get off that mountain and go live happily ever after already, after which Ben develops a second career as an extremely good-looking mountain-rescue expert. Fantasy, after all, gets to make its own rules.

Moira Macdonald is a The Seattle Times (TNS) writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.