Alex Martin and Ben Bass are two strangers stuck in an Idaho airport, desperately looking for a way home in the middle of a major snow storm.
Every single flight has been cancelled, but Alex has an idea.
She and Ben will pay the pilot of a tiny private plane to fly them to Denver, where they then will make their connecting flights. That will allow her to make it to her wedding (which is the next day) and him to make it to a scheduled surgery (he’s a doctor).
Brilliant, right? Perhaps, but not this time.
The pilot misjudges the storm. Then, he suffers a stroke. Then, the plane crashes on top of a snow-capped Idaho mountain, leaving Alex, Ben and the pilot’s dog as the only survivors. With little food and water and no cell service, will they find help before they die of hypothermia?
It’s all part of The Mountain Between Us (PG-13), which opens this weekend and stars Kate Winslet (Titanic) as Alex and Idris Elba (Prometheus, The Dark Tower) as Ben in a film that is part survival drama, part romance.
Here are five things parents should know:
1. The survival part of the film is great. Full disclosure: I’m a fan of the survival film genre. Whether it’s surviving a nor’easter or surviving an earthquake, movies that showcase man’s struggle against nature always have attracted me. The Mountain Between Us is no different. For example: How would you light a fire atop a mountain? What would you eat for food in sub-freezing temps? And what should you do if someone breaks a leg? It’s all there on the big screen, even if some of the actions are questionable. (Please, always melt the snow before you consume it.)
2. The romantic part of the film isn’t great. If fact, for many moviegoers it may ruin the film. Ben and Alex make it down the mountain and take shelter in an abandoned house, where they kiss and then make love in a somewhat lengthy bedroom scene that contains no nudity (but lots of skin). It’s worth asking: Why does Hollywood place a sex scene in nearly every romantic film? That’s too bad, because The Mountain Between Us has tons of potential: a white American woman with impulsive instincts falls for a black British man who always is cautious. We didn’t need a bedroom scene.
3. Coarse language is a problem, too. Specifically, God’s name is abused frequently. All total, I counted 18 coarse words: misuse of “Jesus” (5), OMG (3), s—t (3), misuse of “Jesus Christ” (2), misuse of “God” (1), f-word (1), d—n (1), a—(1), h-ll (1).
4. Marriage is (sort of) honored. Ben’s wife died two years ago, yet he continues to wear his wedding ring out of commitment. Later, after he and Alex are rescued and go their separate ways, he refuses to answer her calls because he believes she is married (she isn’t).
5. God’s role in survival is recognized. When a medical discussion about the body turns to its ability to adjust to cold weather, Ben remarks: “It’s quite ingenious what God did.” Of course, he’s right. The human body can withstand extreme fluctuation in temperatures. And God went one step further, giving us the knowledge and creative ability to make fires, to cook food and to build shelter – all needed to survive the elements.
Family-friendly rating: 2 out of 5 stars.
The Mountain Between Us is rated PG-13 for a scene of sexuality, peril, injury images, and brief strong language.
— Michael Foust