Cold Mountain is a historical drama and a adaptation of the novel, Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier.
When the movie opens, we are introduced to the soldier, W.P. Inman (Jude Law) who is reading an old letter from his true love, Ada Monroe (Nicole Kidman, Batman).
Everything goes awry when the solder’s camp is blown up by gun powder and the Union Army.
Flashbacks to Cold Mountain, North Carolina, prior to the war. Inman is a carpenter and Ada is a noble woman, who has come to visit the site. She offers him a cold glass of apple cider and he accepts politely.
Back to Petersburg the devastation is obvious. The remaining Confederate soldiers wait anxiously for the return of the Union army because they know what their fate will be.
Back to Cold Mountain, Ada is assisting her father, Reverend Monroe (Donald Sutherland) with his mission. Inman has arrived to see Ada. She tells him that she cares about him but he cut her off by reminding her of the upcoming war.
Petersburg: The remaining soldiers are reminded of the dangers that they face. They continue to battle the Union army with only a skeleton crew. One by one they seem to be dying on the battlefield. Inman is severely injured, shot in the neck, but is instantly taken back to Cold Mountain and Ada. As his life is drifting away, the only thing that he can think of is the lovely Ada and the day that he gave her his grandfather’s sheet music, which just happened to be the day that the American Civil War was announced. Ada makes a promise to wait for him until he returns. She gives him a book and a black and white picture of herself, in hopes that he will never forget her and off to war he goes.
Petersburg: Inman is fighting for his life and Negros are out in the fields picking cotton.
Cold Mountain: Ada is playing the piano when she looks outside the large window and notices that her father has passed away. She writes Inman a letter to keep him updated on the happenings of North Carolina. She struggles to take care of the animals and the farm during the winter months. She begs Inman to return to her, per her request.
Inman has recovered but not fully. He decides that it is time to leave the Petersburg and the war behind. He becomes a deserter and heads back to North Carolina and becomes a trader and will be treated as such.
In Cold Mountain, Ada finds herself broke and in dire need of food. She has no idea of how to survive on the farm, but Ruby Thewes (Renee Zellweger) is going to rescue her from despair.
Inman continues tracking his way back to Ada and comes across Reverend Veasey (Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Capote), who is trying to bury an African American lady. Inman holds him at gun point and makes him take her back into the house. He continues down the road but the blood hounds are out in full force so he must make an escape fast. Reverend Veasey has decided to help Inman get away from the deputies.
Ruby forces Ada to get out of bed before the break of dawn and milk the cows. Ada acts like a spoiled brat and starts screaming while Ruby and her are mending a fence. She sells her piano to buy feed for the animals and other provisions.
Inman and Reverend Veasey have been lured to a farm house that is full of women that love pleasing a man. They are drunk and caught off guard by the deputies and are immediately apprehended but the soldiers appear. Everyone is killed except for Inman, who starts back out on his journey to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Ada’s helpful neighbors, Sally (Kathy Baker) and Esco Swanger (James Gammon) are targeted by the deputies because they have their trader sons hidden. Esco and the sons are killed and Sally is left behind with the grief.
Inman is on the run and suffering from his wounds. An old wise lady, Maddy (Eileen Atkins) takes care of him until he is ready to continue on his journey.
Bardolf (Cillian Murphy, Peaky Blinders) has come to rob a widow lady, Sara (Natalie Portman) but is stopped by a passerby.
Ada and Ruby rescue her father, Stobrod Thewes (Brendan Gleeson) from the clutches of death. Ada set out for food to feed him and meets her beloved Inman. He tells Ada that he loves her deeply and wants to marry her. The next morning Ada and Ruby take off back to Cold Mountain and Inman and Stobrod stay behind because they are deserters.
Will Inman and Ada be able to overcome the war and be happy ever after? Is there life after war and will these poor souls be able to overcome the deaths of their loved ones?
If you love old war movies with a twist of romance, you will love Cold Mountain. You get an inside look of how war changes a person, whether they went off to fight on the frontline or stayed behind to take care of the family and farm. It hardens their soul and heart, while forcing one to do things that they would normally not do in order to survive. As Inman says, “my spirit has changed”. This is truly how our soldiers returned from the war with broken hearts and feeling like a lost soul.
The southern music with the banjo playing is perfect for this movie. The beautiful hills and mountains of North Carolina are the perfect scenery, along with the southern attire. The writers did a great job with the screenplay. The seriousness of war and tragedy is played out in this epic film. Renee Zellweger and Nicole Kidman did a superb job in their roles and their southern accent was done well. This film deserves a 7.5 out of 10.