Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Cold Mountain: How to spend several hours being sad


Why do I do this to myself? This movie was an impulse borrow from my local library. Thank goodness I didn't pay for it. I broke several personal movie-watching rules by choosing this movie:

1. It's a chick flick (love story)
2. It's a war movie
3. It's a historical movie with horses in it
4. It's got an advertised unhappy ending
5. It's a serious movie with high quality actors

I already can't remember anyone's name in the movie so I'll use the actors first names for simplicity. You have Nicole Kidman playing the dutiful preacher's daughter in this hick southern town of Cold Mountain. I thought she was a little old for the role. At her age she would have been an entrenched spinster or Old Maid. But she's so pretty I got over it. Then there's Jude, the hunky carpenter, who also would not have escaped husband-hood in those days but we move on as well. As expected, the pair are quickly falling in awkward love but the pesky Civil War breaks out and he has to go fight. Their good bye kiss is really hot, however, and I got a little stomach leap when it happened.

Then we have the parade of war horrors on the battlefield and at home. We see, in gory detail, battle scenes of soldiers being brave and getting blown up. I wondered how I could find Braveheart so cool and this so not. On the homefront we see our little lady, unable to care for herself, frightened of a rooster while cowering under the porch. Hard times come to the mountain and there's a serious lack of food. There is also an unfriendly bunch of gangsters who impose their own version of military law over the town. All the news is grim and it takes a LONG time to go through it.

But wait! Jude, after being injured, decides to get the heck out of there and make his way home to Nicole. Renee Zellweger comes to the farm and gets Nicole to pull herself up by the bootstraps. Things are looking up for the ladies but Jude is having a really rough time of it on his journey. There's danger everywhere. He fights starvation by eating tiny live crabs in the swamp. He hides from soldiers hunting for deserters. He faces Yankee soldiers attempting to rape and kill an innocent woman. This is another LONG part of the movie and I kept thinking "when is it going to end?"

Finally our protagonists are together. Really hooked up and having a hot sex scene. Excellent, roll the credits. But no! Our gangsters show up to ruin the day. My jaw dropped and I thought to myself, "NO! Not after all he went through!" But there it was: Jude dies in his lover's arms in a beautifully shot scene on the snowy mountain. I was depressed for a day.

I have to do some shout out's for some folks: Charlie Hunnam played Bosie, a sadistic, albino looking gangster. I've never heard of him, but he was very convincing in his meanness. Natalie Portman played the widow living alone in a cabin with a sick baby. Her loneliness cut me to the core. Jack White played a musician-surprise! I was positively creeped out watching Giovanni Ribisi tangle with the bloated carcass of a cow. Ugh.

On a more positive note my husband rented "The Island" with Ewan and Scarlett. That's more my speed. I'll let you know.

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