Most complaints on this film I've seen are that the central love story is lacking, but I found it romantic in a restrained, very old-fashioned way that I thought worked on the whole. It has some beautiful cinematography, as well as interesting character turns throughout.
This is the proof that an enormous big star ensemble does not guarantee a great movie. Saying that Mr. Minghella should or must ask himself why is it so? The movie lacks, despite a few good scenes, emotion. Mrs. Kidman is one of the reasons why the movie comes across icecold. Also the ending doesn't come as much of a surprise. Solid, but below expectation. Overall notably disappointing.
It is certainly very easy to dismiss this epic drama as mediocre Hollywood cheese. In my opinion, it is a touching, visually wonderful film about love, companionship and longing. A romantic film in the truest sense of the word, Minghella impressively weaves several heartbreaking stories into North Carolinian landscapes of pristine beauty and meaning.
"I imagine god is weary of being pulled down on both sides of an argument." Perhaps not the best casting for these roles, but what really killed this decent script was the tasteless direction. I sort of imagine him going "oh, that will work," after a take or two... Sure its strong, but it ain't interesting.
Overall, this film receives a lot of negative commentary based on it being Oscar bait, or Hollywood trite, but the fact of the matter is that it is a beautiful film. The production design is especially striking, putting the audience directly into the striking beauty of 19th century North Carolina. This lengthy romantic epic echoes the tragedy of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "Evangeline".
"Oscar bait" or not, it is a passionate film. Yes, the central romance leaves something to be desired, but what else is there to complain about? The cinematography is arresting. Combat scenes are dirty, nasty and authentic, and wrenching turns from a star-packed supporting crowd resonate. The soundtrack evokes profound sense of place.