The Mountain (2018 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rick Alverson|
|Distributed by||Kino Lorber|
The Mountain is a 2018 American drama film directed by Rick Alverson, from a screenplay by Alverson, Dustin Guy Defat and Colm O'Leary. It stars Tye Sheridan, Denis Lavant, Hannah Gross, Udo Kier and Jeff Goldblum. The script is loosely based on the story of controversial physician Walter Freeman. It had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on August 30, 2018. It was released on July 26, 2019, by Kino Lorber.
In the 1950s, young introvert Andy (Sheridan) works at his father Frederick's (Kier) ice rink following the institutionalization, lobotomization, and presumed death of his mother. After Frederick has a heart attack and dies, Andy encounters family friend Dr. Wallace Fiennes (Goldblum), the man responsible for his mother's lobotomization. He invites Andy to travel with him, having Andy act as his photographer, journalist, and assistant.
The duo travel from asylum to asylum, Wallace performing lobotomies while Andy reluctantly documents. At night, Andy repeatedly attempts to contact his mother's spirit using a planchette. On one occasion, Andy meets a woman who tells him that her daughter Susan is a patient at their next destination. There, they meet Jack (Lavant) and his daughter, Susan (Gross). Jack requests that Wallace perform a lobotomy on Susan, who has been exhibiting rebellious behavior. While Wallace preps his equipment in the other room, Susan seduces Andy and they start having sex. Wallace interrupts them, then performs the procedure.
Later that night, Andy sneaks out and hitchhikes to Jack's house, where a drunken Jack rants about life and art in a mixture of French and English. While initially unresponsive, Susan displays affection towards Andy after he touches her. At the next institution, Andy watches as an insubordinate patient is dragged across a hallway by hospital employees. Andy repeats the behavior, destroying his chair and shouting the same expletives as the patient before being restrained. Wallace questions Andy, during which he reveals Susan was his first sexual encounter, he believes his dreams are real, and that his attempts to contact his mother's spirit have been successful. Andy is subsequently lobotomized.
Wallace drops Andy off at Jack's home and departs. Andy and Susan attend one of Jack's New Age music therapy sessions. Andy takes Jack's car and drives Susan down a snowy mountain road. When they reach the peak, Andy gets out and stands in the snow, shivering.
- Tye Sheridan as Andy
- Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Wallace Fiennes
- Denis Lavant as Jack
- Hannah Gross as Susan
- Udo Kier as Frederick
- Eleonore Hendricks as Grace
The film premiered at the 75th Venice International Film Festival on August 30, 2018.  It also screened at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2019. That same month, Kino Lorber acquired U.S. distribution rights. It was released on July 26, 2019.
The film received generally mixed reviews following its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, though Goldblum's performance as Dr. Fiennes earned universal praise. Eric Kohn of IndieWire praised the film, saying it is the "warmest and most inviting work from a director who traffics in an acquired taste." Guy Lodge, writing for Variety, wrote that "Alverson's serene affectations serve a stern, stark thesis about our evolving understanding of mental health, as well as America's dubious romanticization of its heartland."
Peter Bradshaw at The Guardian was less enthusiastic, commending Jeff Goldblum's supporting turn and finding aspects of the film "rather brilliant" but that it ultimately "succumbs to a rather banal inability to decide where to take the story."
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- Bradhsaw, Peter. "The Mountain review – Jeff Goldblum enthrals as a womanising lobotomist". The Guardian. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
- "The Mountain". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 10, 2019.