Cold Mountain Movie Poster Image

Cold Mountain



Excellent but upsetting, only for older teens.
  • Review Date: June 28, 2004
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 160 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive role models

Very strong female characters.


Graphic wartime violence, torture, many characters wounded and killed.


Nudity, sexual references and situations, including rape, group sex.


Strong 19th century language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking


Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the movie has very graphic battle violence, with many characters wounded and killed. There are explicit sexual references and situations, including nudity, prostitution, and attempted rape. Characters engage in a swindle involving seduction and betrayal, with nudity and graphic references. One character shows strong values by turning down sexual offers so that he can remain faithful to the woman he loves. Characters use strong language.

What's the story?

Inman (Jude Law), a wounded Confederate soldier, walks away from the hospital to return to his home and to his love, Ada (Nicole Kidman). Ada was raised by her minister father (Donald Sutherland) for a life of refinement and noblesse oblige, is struggling to maintain her father's farm after his death, with the help of Ruby (Renee Zellweger). But the war is getting closer to them. Soldiers from both sides cover the countryside, the Confederates looking for deserters, the Union looking for provisions, both taking whatever they can. Inman walks back to Cold Mountain, encountering an Odyssey-like assortment of characters and adventures, including a minister who is attempting to murder the slave he got pregnant (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a lonely young mother (Natalie Portman), and a man who is less friendly than he seems. Ada is faced with challenges at home as she and Ruby try to work the farm and stay out of the way of the trouble that seems to be coming toward them from every direction. Ruby's estranged father (Brendan Gleeson), now a musician, shows up, and she must decide whether she can trust him.

Is it any good?


COLD MOUNTAIN benefits from outstanding performances by the lead actors and a stunning range of first-rate performers in supporting roles, including Portman, Kathy Baker, and Giovanni Ribisi. The terrain of Romania, standing in for the 19th century South, is beautifully evocative, as is the splendid soundtrack, assembled by O Brother Where Art Thou's T-Bone Burnett and featuring traditional works performed by White Stripes' Jack White. But, as often happens in the adaptation of literary works, without the balance of the book's poetic language, the images tend to overwhelm the subtle issues it raises about great and small conflicts.

Kidman's radiant loveliness persuades viewers that a man could develop a lifetime of devotion after one kiss, but it would be easier to believe her experience of hardship and growth if that radiance dimmed just a little now and then. Zellweger brings some spunk to a role that is reduced to a colorful sidekick that is more Andy Devine than Eve Arden. This is a thoughtful, intelligent film with lovely performances and heartbreaking themes, but like its main characters, it has great difficulty reaching the conclusion it aspires to.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the perspective of this movie, sympathetic to the point of view of the deserter and putting a lot of emphasis on the challenges of the people who were not fighting the battles, differs from many stories set in wartime. What does that say about that era and ours? How does that relate to the description of what happens when the bird eats a seed? Ruby and Ada were both raised by their fathers. Which father prepared his daughter best for what she would have to do? What do each of the people Inman meets on his way home add to the story? If the sky were to fall down tomorrow, what would you want to make sure you said today?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 25, 2003
DVD release date:June 28, 2004
Cast:Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger
Director:Anthony Minghella
Run time:160 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:violence and sexuality

This review of Cold Mountain was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008

Don't waste your time

I totally enjoyed this movie up to the point of the love scene between Jude Law and Nicole Kidman. It was totally shocking and unexpected. It was almost pornographic. They wouldn't have to show much more for it to get an X rating. I believe Nicole Kidman wants to push the envelope in this area. I will not be seeing any more movies with her starring in them. This one scene ruined the entire experience for me.
Teen, 13 years old Written bySeminolefreak March 30, 2011

Excellent. Can be very depressing at times

My MPAA Rating, R: Strong war violence and peril, torture, nudity, sexual references/situations, some language
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 15 years old Written byvictoliva March 15, 2012


its really good but u need to no what your getting into befor watchin its R and should be
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide