Saw this movie over the past weekend. Had read the book by Charles Frazier when it first came out in '97(great book!), but had forgotten some of it. The movie brought back quite a bit, although the memory had grown foggy over the last 6 years. I'd give it 3.5 stars out of 4. The beginning battle scene at the battle of Petersburg near the end of the Civil War was awesome and hard to watch. I had remembered this particular scene from one of Jeff Shaara's books, The Last Full Measure . It made you realize how god awful war really is.
Some of the minor roles were excellently acted, almost overshadowing the major actors (Nicole Kidman, Jude Law, Renee Zellweger). The preacher whom Jude Law strings to a tree in the middle of town for trying to drown a young black girl, whom he has impregnated, is great in his role. He played a draq queen in a movie with DeNiro, but his name escapes me at the moment. It's hard to overshadow Kidman though, who is so visually stunning. (Almost hard to believe you would have found anyone so beautiful lurking around back then. LOL) Zellweger turns in quite a performance as the local peasant girl who helps Kidman on her farm while Jude Law is trekking homeward across the Appalachians (some gorgeous Appalachian scenes), although at times I think she goes a bit over the top. The book was outstanding and I think the movie is certainly worth seeing. Not for young kids though (some nudity) and battle scenes and a few others would be too rough. Rated R. Great on the big screen though (what isn't, huh?).
A quote from Amazon.com that recaps the book: "The hero of Charles Frazier's beautifully written and deeply-imagined first novel is Inman, a disillusioned Confederate soldier who has failed to die as expected after being seriously wounded in battle during the last days of the Civil War. Rather than waiting to be redeployed to the front, the soul-sick Inman deserts, and embarks on a dangerous and lonely odyssey through the devastated South, heading home to North Carolina, and seeking only to be reunited with his beloved, Ada, who has herself been struggling to maintain the family farm she inherited. Cold Mountain is an unforgettable addition to the literature of one of the most important and transformational periods in American history. "