So everyone is giving The Moutain Between Us terrible reviews and I'm going to be quite honest, the movie deserves them. It isn't great and there really isn't anything redeemable about it. Not even Idris Elba can save this one....Or maybe he can.
Man's best friend
Here's my theory: Maybe the love story isn't what we think. So the movie deposits to us the idea that Idris Elba (Ben) and Kate Winslet (Alex) are the ones we should root for. They are struggling to survive and then, therefore, find each other. But there is a third party that I truly believe makes a much more interesting love story: the dog.
So when the plane crashes, Walter (Beau Bridges) dies but his dog survives. They never learn the dog's name and, at one point, while searching for it, Ben calls out for "Walter's dog". Which is honestly a step up for how he treated the dog the entire movie. You're probably wondering where I'm going with this at this point, and buckle in, because it is slightly crazy. What if the love story is really between Ben and the dog?
In the beginning of the movie, Ben hates the dog. He doesn't want to touch it and the dog does not like him. They are at wit's end throughout most the movie and it seems as if that's how they'll always be. But as they are surviving together, the two grow closer and closer. There is even a point where the dog is hunting and doesn't get the rabbit they see and Ben comforts him.
And in the end, when all is said and done and (spoiler alert) Ben and Alex are back in the real world, Ben's the one who keeps the dog. Now he doesn't name it but still, it's a big step up from them not getting along at all. The two characters have a much more interesting relationship arc than Ben and Alex and the dog ends up showing Ben more affection in the end.
A missed chance?
So if we look at the movie as a love story between a man and a dog, does it make it better? Yes, and I say that with all honesty. The movie goes from a stale love story between Idris and Kate to a heartwarming tale of a man bonding with a dog in dire circumstances. And maybe if they marketed it that way, more people would have gone out to see it, because who can resist a good dog movie?