★★★

The Mountain Between Us, starring Idris Elba and Kate Winslet, and based on the book of the same name by Charles Martin, aspires to both the survivalist and romance genres. The story follows surgeon Dr. Ben Bass (Idris Elba) and photojournalist Alex Martin (Kate Winslet), who each have pressing reasons to fly through a winter storm that grounds all planes at the airport in Salt Lake City where they’re stranded—Alex because she’s getting married, and Ben because he’s scheduled to perform surgery on a ten-year-old boy. For whatever reason, Alex brings Ben along with her when she charters a small private aircraft. Unfortunately, the two strangers end up crashing on a Utah mountaintop.

After spending three days recovering, the pair embark on a three-week journey to safety. Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t quite succeed at portraying the challenges of enduring such a punishing, frigidly cold environment. Despite lacking basic survival skills, Ben and Alex breeze through each of Mother Nature’s challenges and still have enough energy left over to throw some tongue-in-cheek jokes each other’s way. While humor might be a very helpful psychological tool while trying to stay alive, the film doesn’t convincingly portray the perils of the unforgiving wilderness. As such, Ben and Alex’s survival doesn’t feel earned, which in turn causes the central romance to fall flat.

Nature survivalists will scoff at this movie, but most audiences will still be able to enjoy the endearing performances by Elba and Winslet. Together, they bring the spare and uninspired script to life with their nuanced acting. Combined with the breathtaking scenery, The Mountain Between Us is worth watching if you’re a fan of the film’s cast.