The Mountain Between Us (film)

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The Mountain Between Us
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHany Abu-Assad
Screenplay by
Based onThe Mountain Between Us
by Charles Martin
Produced by
CinematographyMandy Walker
Edited byLee Percy
Music byRamin Djawadi
Distributed by20th Century Fox[1]
Release dates
  • September 9, 2017 (2017-09-09) (TIFF)
  • October 6, 2017 (2017-10-06) (United States)
Running time
112 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$35 million[3]
Box office$62.8 million[3]

The Mountain Between Us is a 2017 American survival drama film[3] directed by Hany Abu-Assad and written by Chris Weitz and J. Mills Goodloe, based on the 2011 novel of the same name by Charles Martin.[4][5] It stars Idris Elba and Kate Winslet as a surgeon and a journalist, respectively, who survive a plane crash, with a dog, and are stranded in the High Uintas Wilderness with injuries and harsh weather conditions.[6] The film premiered on September 9, 2017, at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, and was theatrically released in the United States on October 6, 2017, by 20th Century Fox.[7]


After their flight is canceled due to stormy weather, neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Bass (Idris Elba) and photojournalist Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) hire private pilot Walter (Beau Bridges) to get them from Idaho to Denver for connecting flights to Alex's wedding in New York and Ben's emergency surgery appointment in Baltimore. Walter, who has not filed a flight plan, suffers a fatal stroke mid-flight, and the plane crashes on a mountaintop in the High Uintas Wilderness. Ben, Alex, and Walter's Labrador Retriever survive the crash but Alex has injured her leg quite badly. Ben attends to her cuts and injured knee, and buries the pilot while she is unconscious.

Once conscious, Alex thinks Ben has a better chance of finding help if he leaves her behind, but Ben refuses. Stranded for days with dwindling supplies, Alex grows skeptical that they will be rescued, although Ben wants to wait for help with the plane's wreckage. He agrees to climb a ridge to see if there is any sign of a road, but sees nothing but mountains and narrowly avoids falling down the side.

Alex goes through Ben's things and listens to a message from his wife saying, 'I'm glad to have had this time with you'. Alex is found by a cougar, who viciously fights and wounds the dog. She shoots a flare at the big cat, killing it. The dog returns and later, when Ben comes back he tends to the dog’s wounds. They cook the cougar's corpse giving them, Ben thinks, ten days of food.

The two argue over waiting for rescue or descending the mountain to find help/a phone signal. Alex starts a lone descent down the mountain. Ben catches up, having located the tail end of the plane he finds a beacon - but it is smashed. The two hike down to the tree-line and spend the night in a cave.

Using her telephoto lens, Alex thinks she sees a cabin. At the same time that Alex falls into freezing water, Ben comes across the empty cabin. He pulls her out, but she remains unconscious and severely dehydrated. Ben again saves her life by fashioning an IV. They stay there for several days while Alex recovers; Ben reveals that his wife died two years prior from a brain tumor. Eventually they have sex. As he sleeps, Alex takes his picture. Later, she again tells Ben to leave her behind to find help. Ben initially agrees but soon returns; they press forward again.

The dog alerts them to a nearby timber yard. On their way toward it, Ben's leg gets caught in a bear trap. Alex cannot free him, but she reaches the yard and collapses in front of an approaching truck. Ben awakens in a hospital and goes to Alex's room, where he finds her with Mark (Dermot Mulroney), her fiancé. After a brief conversation, Ben leaves, heartbroken.

Ben and Alex go their separate ways after the hospital, with Ben keeping the dog. Alex tries calling Ben, but he ignores her calls until she sends him photos she had taken on the mountain, writing that only he can understand them. This encourages Ben to call Alex. They meet at a restaurant in New York, where it is revealed that Alex is now a part-time teacher, and Ben is a consultant at trauma clinics in London because his frostbitten hands will not recover sufficiently for him to perform surgery again. Ben says he did not call Alex because he thought she had married; Alex says she could not go through with it because she fell in love with Ben. Outside the restaurant, Ben admits to Alex that they survived because they fell in love. Alex dismisses her feelings and reminds Ben of something he said on the mountain: "the heart is just a muscle." She tells him she does not know how they could be together in the real world. They hug goodbye, and begin to depart in opposite directions. While walking away both become distraught, and finally turn and begin running back to each other. A split second before the two embrace, the screen cuts to black and the credits roll.



The project was first in development in January 2012, with Mexican director Gerardo Naranjo set to direct a script by J. Mills Goodloe.[8] In August 2012, Scott Frank was hired to re-write the script.[9] In November 2014, Hany Abu-Assad replaced Naranjo,[10] and Chris Weitz was later hired to re-write the script.[11]

Abu-Assad has said of the film, "I really didn’t see an epic love story against the background of survival, I think optimism and hope is crucial to survive. And to go on with your life even if you’ve had a lot of bad luck. So if you give (in) to the bad luck, you will die. (But) if you fight the bad luck, you have a better chance to survive and make your life better. This is very simple wisdom, yes? But still very crucial especially in these kind of days, when everybody feels entitled to their good luck."[12]


The film went through several lead casting changes. In March 2012, it was announced that Michael Fassbender would star as Bass,[13] but by September 2014, Fassbender dropped out due to a scheduling conflict, and Charlie Hunnam replaced him. Margot Robbie also came on board to star as Alex.[14] In November 2014, Robbie dropped out of the project, and Rosamund Pike entered negotiations for the lead role.[10] In December 2015, both Hunnam and Pike dropped out.[11]

In February 2016, Idris Elba came on board,[15] followed by Kate Winslet in June 2016.[16] Dermot Mulroney joined the cast as Winslet's character's fiancé in early February 2017.[17]


Principal photography started on December 5, 2016, in Vancouver, and continued until February 24, 2017.[18] Elba and Winslet filmed scenes at the Vancouver International Airport and Abbotsford International Airport on December 7, 2016.[19] Filming stopped for Christmas holidays, from December 20, 2016 to January 3, 2017.[20]

Filming resumed around Invermere and Panorama Mountain Village on January 4, 2017.[21]

Most of the filming took place in Canada, on the border of Alberta and British Columbia. Abu-Assad has described the locations as having very cold temperatures, and tough and harsh filming conditions. Many scenes were shot on a mountaintop, and he and the crew had to drive 40 minutes before reaching the film's base camp. When the weather was okay, they could board the helicopter to reach their destination along with their supplies.[12]


German-Iranian composer Ramin Djawadi composed & conducted the music for the film.[22] The official trailer for the movie was released with "Dusk Till Dawn" by Zayn Malik and Sia as the soundtrack. The score from the film is now released at Lakeshore Records. Soundtrackdreams reviewed, 'The main theme from “The mountain between us” is the best advertisement for this score; a sweeping piano and violin theme, both grandiose and intimate at the same time, a proper dramatic opening that gets emotional from the first minutes without an adjustment period. The first cue is the kind of piece that could have very well sat at the end as the dramatic climax of the movie. The horn buildup towards the end joins the rolling piano in making sure this theme will end up as one of the most memorable he has ever written.'[23]


The film premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, on September 9, 2017.[24] The film was initially set for release in the United States on October 20, 2017[25] but was later moved up to October 6, 2017.[7]

Box office[edit]

As of December 21, 2017, The Mountain Between Us has grossed $30.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $30.7 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $62.3 million, against a production budget of $35 million.[3]

In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside Blade Runner 2049 and My Little Pony: The Movie, and was expected to gross $11–12 million from 3,088 theaters in its opening weekend.[26] It ended up debuting to $10.1 million, finishing second at the box office, behind Blade Runner 2049 ($32.5 million).[27] The film dropped 47% in its second weekend, making $5.7 million and falling to 5th.[28]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 38%, based on 173 reviews, with an average rating of 5.10/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Mountain Between Us may be too far-fetched for some viewers to appreciate, but it's elevated by reliably engaging performances from Idris Elba and Kate Winslet."[29] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 48 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[30] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[27]

Jordan Mintzer of The Hollywood Reporter described the film as "an easily digestible love story-cum-survival tale that tosses two excellent actors in the snow and lets them do their thing," before concluding that "what really helps Mountain overcome its far-fetched scenario is the pairing of Winslet and Elba, who know how to turn up the charm tenfold yet make Alex and Ben seem (mostly) like real people."[31] Tim Grierson of ScreenDaily noted that the film "struggles to balance its life-or-death stakes with its far more florid love story," but added that "the considerable chemistry between Kate Winslet and Idris Elba certainly helps sell this tearjerker."[32]

In his review for Variety, Peter Debruge described it as "a movie in which neither the subzero temperature nor the romantic heat penetrates more than skin deep."[33] Also criticizing the film, Steve Pond of TheWrap found it unnecessarily lengthy and said that "a love story cheapens the grand survival story."[34] Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of The A.V. Club criticized the central characters as "a couple of one-note personality-test types" with "zero romantic chemistry," and wrote that the script "actually tones down the howling outrageousness of Martin’s novel, which seems to miss the point. But, structurally, it’s the same junk. Problems pop out of nowhere and resolve themselves, while torturous motivations attempt to explain why characters would withhold basic information from one another for weeks..."[35]


  1. ^ a b c "Film releases". Variety Insight. Archived from the original on 18 February 2017. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  2. ^ "THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US". British Board of Film Classification. September 26, 2017. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d "The Mountain Between Us (2017)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  4. ^ Briers, Michael (July 5, 2016). "Kate Winslet May Board The Mountain Between Us With Idris Elba". Archived from the original on 19 March 2017. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  5. ^ Lee, Ashley (May 31, 2017). "Idris Elba and Kate Winslet Are Stranded Survivors in 'The Mountains Between Us' Trailer". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on May 31, 2017. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  6. ^ McNary, Dave (June 8, 2016). "Kate Winslet in Talks to Star Opposite Idris Elba in 'Mountain Between Us'". Variety. Archived from the original on February 23, 2017. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  7. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (June 8, 2017). "Kate Winslet-Idris Elba Survival Pic 'The Mountain Between Us' Moves Up In October". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on June 8, 2017. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  8. ^ Raup, Jordan (2 February 2012). "'Miss Bala' Director Gerardo Naranjo Lands Hollywood Debut 'The Mountain Between Us'". Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  9. ^ Abrams, Rachel (9 August 2012). "Scott Frank rewrites Chernin's 'Mountain'". Variety. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  10. ^ a b Fleming, Mike Jr. (18 November 2014). "'Gone Girl's Rosamund Pike Circling 'The Mountain Between Us' With Charlie Hunnam". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 21 March 2015. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  11. ^ a b White, James (10 December 2015). "Chris Weitz re-writing The Mountain Between Us as it loses its leads". Empire. Archived from the original on 11 December 2015. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  12. ^ a b Mandell, Andrea (29 May 2017). "See Idris Elba, Kate Winslet stranded in the wild in 'Mountain Between Us'". USA Today. Archived from the original on 30 May 2017. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  13. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (14 May 2012). "Michael Fassbender To Climb 'The Mountain Between Us' For 'Miss Bala' Director Gerardo Naranjo". Indiewire. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  14. ^ Davis, Edward (4 September 2014). "Casting: Charlie Hunnam Replaces Michael Fassbender in 'The Mountain Between Us;' Two More Join The Coen Bros' 'Hail Caesar!'". Indiewire. Archived from the original on 21 June 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  15. ^ Sneider, Jeff (10 February 2016). "Idris Elba to Star in 'The Mountains Between Us' as Fox Embraces Colorblind Casting". TheWrap. Archived from the original on 11 February 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  16. ^ Doty, Meriah (8 June 2016). "Kate Winslet in Talks for 'Mountain Between Us' With Idris Elba". TheWrap. Archived from the original on 9 June 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  17. ^ Lodderhose, Diana (2 February 2017). "Dermot Mulroney Joins Idris Elba & Kate Winslet In 'The Mountain Between Us'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 3 February 2017. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  18. ^ Takeuchi, Craig (5 December 2016). "VANCOUVER SCREEN SCENE: THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US, IMPOSTERS, DEAD SHACKVANCOUVER SCREEN SCENE: THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US, IMPOSTERS, DEAD SHACK, AND MORE". Archived from the original on 9 December 2016. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  19. ^ "The Mountain Between Us & Fatal Vision Currently Filming in Vancouver". 13 December 2016. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  20. ^ Takeuchi, Craig (5 December 2016). "VANCOUVER SCREEN SCENE: CASEY AFFLECK, WHEN CALLS THE HEART, PUBLIC SCHOOLED, AND MORE". Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  21. ^ Elliot, Eric (22 December 2016). "Big stars set to film in local mountains". Columbia Valley Pioneer. Archived from the original on 4 January 2017. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  22. ^ "Ramin Djawadi to Score 'The Mountain Between Us'". 5 July 2017. Archived from the original on 6 July 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  23. ^ "Soundtrack review: The mountain between us (Ramin Djawadi – 2017) – Soundtrack dreams". Retrieved 2019-06-30.
  24. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (July 25, 2017). "Toronto Film Festival 2017 Unveils Strong Slate". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on July 27, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  25. ^ Evans, Greg (December 2, 2016). "TWC/Dimension Moves Robert De Niro Comedy 'War With Grandpa' To October, Sets 'Polaroid' For Summer". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on December 3, 2016. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  26. ^ "'Blade Runner 2049' Poised To Fly Around The World With Estimated $100M Bow". Deadline Hollywood. October 7, 2017.
  27. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony. "Blade Runner 2049' Dulls -11% On Saturday; Weekend Opening Now At $31M+: Sunday Postmortem". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 8, 2017.
  28. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (15 October 2017). "Blumhouse Has Plenty To Smile About As 'Happy Death Day' Scares Up $26M+ Opening". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
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  33. ^ Debruge, Peter (September 10, 2017). "Toronto Film Review: 'The Mountain Between Us'". Variety. Archived from the original on September 11, 2017. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
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  35. ^ Vishnevetsky, Ignatiy (October 2, 2017). "A plane crash becomes a blind date from hell in the mawkish and clumsy The Mountain Between Us". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2 October 2017.

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