The Mountain Between Us: Film review and analysis

Kelly Lu, Staff Writer

The Mountain Between Us, a romantic novel written by Charles Martin, was adapted into a movie that released this October. The premise of the story revolves around a private plane crash involving the main characters Ben Bass, a surgeon from London, and Alex Martin, a journalist from the U.S. with plans of marriage. The plane violently collides into an icy mountain. With storming blizzards and no sign of help approaching, the two go on a journey of survival.

     At an objective standpoint, this film can be defined as mediocre. It has high points and low points. There are definitely aspects that make The Mountain Between Us unique but at the same time could have used better execution. Throughout the movie, the protagonists Ben and Alex have to develop a connection in order to survive together. These are strangers from two different countries; not only do they have to adjust to the harsh environment conditions, but also to each others’ flaws and quirks in the attempts of survival. Romance also fades into the plot as the characters get to know each other. Ben and Alex’s relationship develops and they become quite intimate. Romance takes over further into the story and becomes the main storyline. This is one of the most unique aspects of The Mountain Between Us; it actually becomes a survival story within a love story, where vise-versa is what one would expect. Despite this original concept, execution is primarily what determines the quality of a story being told. Even the most simple plot has potential to be a masterpiece; a unique plot with poor execution has less literary value.

          The main flaw of this film that contributes to the poor execution is the slow, uneventful pace of events. Most of the movie consists of Ben and Alex climbing down the mountain in search for help. There really is no distinct rising action, climax, or suspense at all shown. The relationship between the protagonists slowly drags the plot throughout the two-hour long movie. In a setting that limits character quantity and where the antagonist is nature itself, viewers would not expect exciting plot devices or anything of the sort. However, if the film was shortened, it would definitely have potential to be good. There would then be a better balance between main characters moving the story versus the setting moving the story.

         The theme of The Mountain Between Us does not pertain to survival. Rather, the theme describes how there are some things in life unexplainable by logic. One of those things would be love. The major difference between Ben and Alex is that Ben is a logical person and thinks more with his head, and Alex thinks more with her heart. In the movie, these characteristics turn out to be both qualities and flaws. The protagonists are very reluctant to accept that they are in love, not forgetting their own complicated love lives before the plane crash. They both know they should not have romantic affiliations; it is illogical in their personal situations. However, as the story unfolds, Alex teaches Ben to follow his heart and there is much more to life than what his mind knows. They finally accept their feelings for each other and counter Ben’s quote: “The heart is just an organ.”