Showing posts with label Kate Winslet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kate Winslet. Show all posts

Monday, September 3, 2018

The Mountain Between Us - Movie Review

The Mountain Between Us on DVD.
As soon as I had seen the trailers for The Mountain Between Us I knew I wanted to see the movie. Survival stories based in the wilderness and extreme conditions are some of my favorite tales. I missed seeing the movie at the theater but finally had a chance to watch it on DVD this weekend. 


The Mountain Between Us 


The movie was based on the book of the same title by Charles Martin. In the movie version, Alex and Ben (two strangers) are stuck at an airport in Salt Lake City and are desperate to fly out. Ben (Idris Elba) is a surgeon and has a surgery the next day and Alex (Kate Winslet) is on her way to her wedding in New York. Alex had overheard Ben talking about his need to get home to Baltimore for this surgery but all flights are cancelled. She has an idea - they'll grab a flight out on a small private plane.

The charter plane pilot agrees to fly them out quickly to get them to Denver ahead of the storm. The pilot, his dog, Alex, and Ben head out - crossing the High Unitas Wilderness area.

The pilot has a stroke in flight and they crash in the mountaintops. Ben, Alex, and the dog survive the crash.

Much of the movie involves Ben and Alex trying to determine which choices to make in order to give them a better chance at survival; stay with the wreckage or try to walk out, etc. The cold, the rugged terrain, lack of food and water, and the mountain lion that views them as food are all barriers to their success. Alex has a broken leg, which doesn't help matters. 



Comparing the Book Versus the Movie


I read the book before I saw the movie. Many times I will read the book and avoid the movie but in this case I wanted to see the setting and the scenery. I also wanted to see some of the events that I had imagined in my head. 

For an excellent review of the book you can read Renaissance Woman's book review. I very much agree with what she had to say about the character development. We fell in love with the characters. All of them. Even the pilot and his dog, Tank. We rooted for all of them, for Ben especially, as he tried to MacGyver his way to rescue.

Movies usually deviate from the book. In this case, the movie version changed Ashley's name to Alex. Also, movies are always more condensed so important "scenes" are always left out and time seems shorter. I expected that. However, in the movie version, the plot came across as a long walk down a large hill. Compared to the book, which was literally a moment-by-moment fight for survival.

In the movie version, Alex/Ashley was not critically injured as she was in the book. I found myself wondering if Hollywood was attempting to make Ashley a stronger woman. I found myself thinking the opposite. In the book, even critically wounded and on deaths door she was a stronger presence than she was in the movie.

I do like Kate Winslet. And I thought her role was well-acted. I have no complaints about her portrayal of the character and I believed her. I just think the book version of Ashley was a better character.

The details of the endings (book and movie) were very different but the final outcome was the same. In the book, I personally thought threads of the outcome came together a little more clumsily than the first 90% of the book. I liked the ending - it was unexpected and an "aha!" moment that suddenly made so much sense. It just seemed slightly choppy.  I loved how the ending of the movie occurred. It was at that moment that the acting was the best. We cared most about Alex(Ashley) and Ben at that point in the movie. More than we did when they were walking their way down the mountain. The movie ending left the extremely important final setting of the book ending out. In a perfect world the final chapters of the book and the ending of the movie would be combined.  I hope that makes sense. I don't want to give away the ending of the book.

I enjoyed both the book and the movie, but if you are choosing one over the other, I recommend the book. But don't just take my word for it. Renaissance Woman recommends the book - and as always her recommendations are spot on. 

I can tell you with certainty, I will be adding more books by Charles Martin to my reading list. I am glad to have been introduced to this author.


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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Reviewing Mildred Pierce

A Classic Story Revisited

My husband and I just recently watched Mildred Pierce together. The version that we watched was the HBO mini-series first released in 2011. It had 5 parts to it that for the most part were 1 hour each so it didn't take us very long to get all 5 episodes finished. Over the course of a couple of evenings we were engrossed in the twists and turns of the plot.

Kate Winslet played the divorcee in this adaption of James M. Cain's classic novel from 1941. Oh the struggles that poor woman went through! The story takes place during the depression so life is pretty darned tough for everyone. Mildred lives in Glendale, California and is struggling to make ends meet by baking cakes and pies for neighbors and friends. She has a good business sense about her and eventually starts her own restaurant which is a huge success even in the dire economic climate of the 1930's. No small feat for a woman back then!

Mildred has a daughter named Veda that is just the most spoiled rotten kid you would ever want to meet. Veda is very demanding and wants a much better life for herself and she will stop at just about nothing to get what she wants. Her mother, Mildred, makes so many sacrifices trying to give Veda what she wants but it just never seems to be enough. Throughout the story that girl betrays her mother so many times!

We, my husband and I, really enjoyed watching this HBO version of this classic book and film but I have to admit that I really liked the original movie from 1945 that starred Joan Crawford better. Crawford won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Mildred Pierce. In fact, the movie was nominated for 6 Academy Awards that year.

I have not read the original novel but I think that I might put it on my reading list because I loved both of the adaptations of it so much. What I find remarkable about the story or plot that James M. Cain gives us is that he wrote it in 1941 at a time that we just didn't see the real struggles of a single mother portrayed in book or movie form. Having been a child in a single parent home, he pretty much nails just how hard it is and was for a woman to get by back then.

Being an antiques enthusiast, we really enjoyed the costumes and set designs in the mini-series, too! Oh my goodness! I kept noticing things that people collect now. There was one scene where Mildred is serving some coffee or tea and the pot is a Jewel Tea Autumn Leaf long spout tea pot that so fits the time frame of the story! She served the beverage in what was then Anchor Hocking mugs but would later become Fire King. It was the attention to detail in the surroundings that made the series so enjoyable. Sure, we loved the plot itself but those little period things just really added to the entertainment factor. The architecture was to die for!

So, if you love a good drama I can highly recommend watching either the original movie or the HBO mini-series of Mildred Pierce. You won't be disappointed in either version.



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