A couple of months ago, I had read The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin as part of the live-person book club I’m part of. We are just four women who enjoy each other’s company and like to read some books together. One of our favorite things to do is choose books that have been made into movies and compare and contrast one with the other.
Though we read this one a while back, we just recently got together and watched the movie adaptation. Oh boy, this one was a doozy! The book itself, I found okay, but this movie just took anything that was good and simply didn’t include it. It was so disappointing.
Most of the focus for the movie was Kate Winslet’s character and Idris Elba’s character. I didn’t find anything inherently wrong with the casting. Perhaps the female role could be played with someone a bit younger, but it didn’t really take away from the essence of the movie, in general.
The beginning was so rushed and just made my head spin. Basically, if you watch the trailer, you know the first few minutes of the movie, at a similar speed. There was no connection made with either of the characters, which was unfortunate, because I ended up not caring what happened to anyone…well, maybe the dog, but other than that, no one else.
What really irked me was all the useless switches the movie makers decided to make. For instance, Kate Winslet’s character in the book was named Ashley, but in the movie she was named, Alex. Why? Then, the wife of Idris Elba’s character’s Ben, was named Rachel in the book. However, in the movie, she was named Sarah. Again, why? In addition, both the main characters’ jobs were changed in the movie. I just don’t understand. Why change something so minimal? I hope there was some sort of clause and it wasn’t them being insane.
I also found Ben’s character to be meaner and crueler in the movie versus the book. This did not add the plot, so I’m not sure why they felt the need to change his overall personality. In fact, I think this took away from the overall feel the book gave.
In general, I also found the timing confusing. It wasn’t clear how much time has really passed. This could be largely due to the fact that after being in freezing temperatures with barely enough food for several weeks, both characters still looked beautiful and amazing.
One of the last scenes toward the end, there were closeups on both actors’ faces. It was such a weird camera choice and did not follow the rest of the movie. I think it was meant to be dramatic, but it ended up being ridiculous and kind of uncomfortable.
However, the thing that irked me the most was the fact that everyone was okay with not naming the dog, and just called him “Dog”, instead of “Tank” like in the book. Really? Did the producers of the movie read the book at all? The poor thing was trapped just like the protagonists, so why not give him a name?
Scenes I Missed (about to get a bit spoiler-y)
SPOILERS for the book: I completely missed how the reader gets to know the pilot who charters the small plane. We get to know him more a personal level and learn that he is happily married, so when he ultimately dies (right toward the beginning), it was so easy to feel sad for him, his wife, and dog. Unfortunately, in the movie, he doesn’t have a wife and has no emotions. Therefore, when he dies, we feel bad for his dog for about a minute until everyone moves on.
Another big aspect that I missed was getting to know Ben and his past more. This literally was about half the book, so when it’s taken away, you can imagine how much is left unsaid. Learning about his wife and what happens to her has more of an impact with a strange twist that was completely gone from the movie. It would have been nice to either have flashbacks of his past, or use the recording method that the author used in the book. Again, by not including this, it just brings no emotions toward his storyline.
Honestly, this movie left me with two main impressions:
- Nobody on set read the book. They either skimmed it or just read the summary.
- It seems like they blew their budget in filming on location, in actual snow, and they couldn’t afford to add the real emotional parts of the book.
As you can tell, I did not enjoy this movie. I believe if I didn’t read the book, I would feel the same way. The viewer still doesn’t have any real emotion or connection to either character, and the story was just so bland.
If I had to give this book-to-movie adaptation a rating, I would give it a 3/10 Tanks. I thought you, buddy!