Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 41
  2. Negative: 1 out of 41
  1. 100
    As he did with “The English Patient,” director Minghella performs a miraculous juggling act, balancing his epic, sweeping story with the subtleties of character and detail that make Cold Mountain breathe.
  2. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    100
    As he did with "The English Patient," Minghella has reshaped the novel’s structure, zeroed in on what matters cinematically and dramatically upped the emotional stakes.
  3. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    100
    As he did in “The English Patient,” Minghella artfully weds movie-movie romanticism with a dark historical vision. The man knows how to cast a spell.
  4. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    100
    A grand and poignant movie epic about what is lost in war and what's worth saving in life. It is also a rare blend of purity and maturity -- the year's most rapturous love story.
  5. 100
    It's funny, it's heartbreaking, it's scary, it's exhilarating. It's got love stuff and lots of laughs and cool gunfights. It's really long and it feels like it's over in 15 minutes. It does something so few movies do these days: It satisfies.
  6. A somber, often downbeat depiction of human savagery and treachery as well as of human kindness. Writer-director Anthony Minghella has meticulously crafted an intimate epic.
  7. 90
    In the end, what Minghella has wrought is a nearly perfect drama of love and war (still the great subjects, after all), an epic that's fluent, frightening and beautiful all at once, that lifts the heart and dashes our dreams in about equal measure.
  8. 90
    A much better movie about the South during the Civil War than “Gone with the Wind”--visionary, erotic, and tragic where the older movie is flossy, merely ambitious and self-important. [22 & 29 December 2003, p. 166]
  9. 88
    The specter of war haunts Cold Mountain, but you remember it for the heat of its romantic yearning and the mysteries that wrap themselves around you until you're lost in another world.
  10. 88
    An exquisitely crafted Civil War epic that combines the epic romantic sweep of "Gone With the Wind" with a more intimate voice that speaks eloquently to the war-weary nation of today.
  11. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    88
    Watching this movie, it seems to be the next level down from great -- maybe too episodic. But it burns in the memory weeks after you see it.
  12. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    88
    Three quarters of Cold Mountain consist of some of the most masterful and absorbing filmmaking of the year. The final quarter is Hollywood business as usual.
  13. 80
    Though Law and Kidman spend much of the movie apart, Minghella and ace editor Walter Murch arrange their interweaving subplots like a running dialogue between two lovers, each compelled to survive on the thin hope that they'll be reunited.
  14. The result is a mountain of honest, nourishing corn, a lavish evocation of simplicity that, for all its showy sophistication, has an appealing emotional directness. For all its sweep and scope and movie-star magic, Cold Mountain is studded with fine small moments and deft supporting performances.
  15. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    80
    A grim picaresque odyssey across a beautiful scarred landscape laced together by private romantic longing. Handsomely made and vividly acted.
  16. Kidman and Zellweger are uncommonly good, and I especially liked the timely treatment of war as universally brutalizing: even the outcomes of battles are ignored, as are the motives behind the conflict.
  17. 75
    By the end of the film, you admire the artistry and the care, you know that the actors worked hard and are grateful for their labors, but you wonder who in God's name thought this was a promising scenario for a movie. It's not a story, it's an idea.
  18. Cold Mountain is the equivalent of comfort food: old-fashioned, earthy (lots of root vegetables), satisfying.
  19. This is what makes the distinctly unromantic Cold Mountain' such a breath of fresh air. Its battles are hideous bloodbaths.
  20. 75
    It's certainly a successful adaptation, features numerous memorable performances (mostly by the supporting players), and is worth a post-holiday expenditure of time and money.
  21. All the signs pointed to a major movie achievement...And it does -- sometimes, and dazzlingly so. But the dazzle doesn't add up to the sustained act of brilliance I'd been expecting.
  22. Minghella does a good job of dashing any lingering image you might have of the Civil War as a conflict fought along neat geometric battle lines with the nobility of Appomattox.
  23. Cold Mountain has some marvelous, intimate moments and a real feeling, at times, for the loss that war engenders, but it also has more than its share of hokum--which would be more entertaining if the hokum were juicier.
  24. 70
    Zellweger looks like a big movie star roughing it à la Paris Hilton, and as if this weren't distracting enough, the hills are alive with big acting names from both sides of the Atlantic who pop up as help or hindrance to Inman's pilgrim's progress while straining, with variable success, for credible Southern twangs.
  25. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    70
    Good, sometimes thrilling, but it's less a war epic than an evocative romantic melodrama with a patchy first hour.
  26. Looks splendid and commands respect, but leaves you wondering what essential something you missed. It's a worthy film at war with itself.
  27. It's enough of a spectacle to enjoy. It's too bad the stars are little more than serviceable and give the movie title an irony it could certainly do without.
  28. This picture is an odd misadventure: a gigantic enterprise that, despite some quite exceptional filming, is thwarted by its two leading actors.
  29. Minghella's adaptation of the 1997 Charles Frazier novel is emotionally detached and almost too studiously carpentered: a willed exercise in mythmaking.
  30. 67
    A handsome work of impressive sweep dotted with fine performances. It offers a few fine moments of wit, fear and emotional intimacy. But it rarely pulses with vital life.
  31. 63
    This Civil War epic romance is exquisitely shot, lovingly designed and populated with talented name actors. In terms of pedigree and sheer, lush filmmaking, the movie has class written all over it. And that's part of the problem.
  32. 63
    These two fine, talented actors share a fatal lack of chemistry together, and it's a flaw this grandly ambitious movie cannot overcome.
  33. Minghella has certainly mounted a gorgeous movie and the battle scenes are brutally spectacular. But overall, "Cold Mountain" is like a fine piece of hand-crafted leather, where the stitching shows its quality. That looks good on a handbag, not so good on the big screen.
  34. 60
    Allows the supporting cast to steal the movie.
  35. 60
    A big fat war movie and a tender love story. Indeed, Cold Mountain is something of an uneasy struggle between the two modes.
  36. There are not one, but two wars raging inside this adaptation: one between the North and the South, and another, more calamitous war between art and middlebrow entertainment.
  37. The fine cast is also misused -- especially Kidman, who looks as unruffled at the end of her torments as before they began, and Zellweger, who does a job of overacting that might have gotten rejected by "The Beverly Hillbillies."
  38. Leaving the book aside, how well does the picture fare? Middingly, and in fits and starts.
  39. 50
    Cold Mountain is a romance, refreshingly free from the taint of any political realities other than the "War is hell" variety. It's also completely juiceless.
  40. 38
    The result is a flabby, episodic phantasmagoria.
User Score
4.8

Mixed or average reviews- based on 246 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 68 out of 148
  2. Negative: 74 out of 148
  1. JanetC
    Dec 22, 2008
    10
    I fail utterly to understand WHY people hate this film. I study literature, for God's sake, I would have noticed if the script had been dire, which it is NOT. If you think Zellweger was hammy, you don't know ham. The ONLY problem with this film is that Jude Law and Nicole Kidman have dodgy accents, but they could have been a lot worse. Chemistry was good, soundtrack was great. What did you expect? Am so glad the critics agree with me on this one - it's a smashing film! Full Review »
  2. Jan 7, 2011
    10
    You can talk about this movie whatever you want, but it will not change the fact that it is excellent. The cast is fantastic, just like the story. If you look at other films that came out that year, and see that half of them are really bad, this movie is fantastic. Full Review »
  3. Oct 18, 2010
    8
    I liked this movie. It maybe the sweet appearance of Nicole Kidman, Or the extremely good cast. Strange to see Renee Zellweger in that kind of Role. I don't get why people hate this movie this much. It's well structured at best. I mean I can't see anything wrong with it. I guess you couldn't outright say this is one of the best. But still It's a solid piece of work. Full Review »