Jude Law as Inman
Nicole Kidman as Ada Monroe
Renée Zellweger as Ruby Thewes
Donald Sutherland as Reverend Monroe
Ray Winstone as Teague
Brendan Gleeson as Stobrod Thewes
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Rev. Veasey
Natalie Portman as Sara
Kathy Baker as Sally Swanger
James Gammon as Esco Swanger
Giovanni Ribisi as Junior
Eileen Atkins as Maddy
Charlie Hunnam as Bosie
Jena Malone as Ferry Girl
Ethan Suplee as Pangle
Cold Mountain is writer/director Anthony Minghella's adaptation of the Charles Frazier book of the same name. The book won the prestigious National Book Award. Pairing it with Minghella's ability to bring historic dramas to the screen has resulted in a beautiful and powerful movie.
Nicole Kidman plays Ada Monroe, a southern belle than has moved to the country to take care of her ailing father (Donald Sutherland). She finds herself attracted to a quiet and courteous laborer, Inman (Jude Law). Their relationship progresses slowly with each of them showing interest in the other until war is declared. With one bold kiss Inman promises that he will return to Ada, while she says she will wait for him. From there the real heart of the movie begins.
Inman is off to fight for the Confederates and participates in the battle of Petersburg. The war is shown at its most callous, and the particular battle is an actual historic one known as "The Crater". It was a disastrous battle and shows just how brutal the war could be. From there, Inman decides it is time to return to Ada and starts a trek across the South to be reunited.
Ada has her own journey to take. She is a woman raised in high society and is dropped into rural life with none of the skills necessary to survive. Slowly, she begins to lose control of her life until another woman (Renee Zellweger), in search of a better life, joins her.
The acting is terrific. Jude Law has very few words but is able to convey the feelings of Inman very well. Kidman does a fine job of portraying a proper southern girl that does not show emotion, but still has emotion. Renee Zellweger will be the one honored most for the film. She steals every scene that she is in, adding much needed humor and spirit to the film.
Shot in Romania, the movie is lush with beautiful cinematography. The battle of The Crater - although gritty, confusing and wretched - is filmed as if you were there experiencing it. Inman's lone march across the South brings out many aspects of the war that are often overlooked, as does Ada's determination to stay waiting for him. The music blends well with the film, never overpowering the story.
Who should see this movie? If you are a Civil War buff, you will appreciate many of the things that were done right, but this is not a romantic version of the war. Some characters' actions will not be appreciated. If you are looking for action, this isn't really the movie for you. The battle is mesmerizing, and there is more action later in the film, but this is a story about journeys not about the action that gets the characters there. For the romantics, this movie is made for you. The love is idealistic and pure and the extent that they are willing to go for it is heart warming, even in the darkness that surrounds them. There are some comedic moments, but they are the exception.
It is a very good movie and feels shorter than its 2.5 hour run time. The acting is top notch. The story is a good one that is not cheapened in the last reel. The pacing might be too slow for some people, but if you want to get involved with some characters, then this is the movie for you.