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The Mountain Between Us (2017) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • Stranded after a tragic plane crash, two strangers must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow covered mountain. When they realize help is not coming, they embark on a perilous journey across hundreds of miles of wilderness, pushing one another to endure and discovering strength they never knew possible.

  • Stranded after a tragic plane crash, two strangers must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow-covered mountain. When they realize help is not coming, they embark on a perilous journey across the wilderness.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • The film starts at an airport. Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) is trying to fly to Denver for her wedding, only to be told that her flight has been canceled due to an impending storm. At the same time, Ben Bass (Idris Elba) is attempting to fly in order to perform heart surgery on a 10-year-old boy, but his flight has also been canceled. Alex approaches Ben and offers a solution to their problem.

    The two walk over to meet Walter (Beau Bridges), a man owning a charter plane that can get them to their destination. Walter brings his dog along, and the dog doesn't immediately take too kindly to Ben.

    On the flight, Alex tells Ben that she's a photographer who was in the area photographing neo-Nazis. Alex then notices the storm clouds appearing overhead. As Walter is contacting someone over the radio, he begins to suffer a stroke. Ben goes over to help, but Walter loses motor function and the plane goes crashing down into the mountains.

    Ben wakes up at night. He finds that Walter is dead, but the dog survived. Alex is unconscious and has a severely broken leg. He treats it and wraps it up before he passes out.

    In the morning, Ben walks out of the wreckage. He pulls Walter's body out and buries him in the snow.

    The next day, Alex wakes up. Ben tells her what's happened. They figure they have a limited food supply and must do what they can to flag someone down to rescue them. They spend some time talking to each other to ease their minds over their situation.

    Ben sees a plane flying overhead and tries to get its attention by shooting a flare, but it doesn't work. He goes out to look for anything that can help them while Alex stays in the plane. While alone, Alex listens to a recorder that Ben keeps with a message from his wife, who apparently left Ben. Ben slips and nearly falls over a cliff but is stopped short of the edge by a rock. Meanwhile, a cougar stalks Alex and the dog outside the plane. The dog barks and runs out to face the cougar, but the dog is bitten in the neck. The cougar goes for Alex, but she fires a flare at its face, causing it to retreat. When Ben comes back, he treats the dog's neck wound and finds the cougar's corpse. He cooks the cougar to feed himself, Alex, and the dog. Alex thinks they should move forward instead of waiting around for help, but Ben disagrees with her.

    After a few days, Alex and Ben leave the plane behind and start to head down the mountain as Alex has spotted a light reflection in the distance through her camera lens. They take the dog and start moving downward, only to encounter a river at the bottom of the cliff with no way around it. They seek shelter in a cave for the night.

    Alex and Ben continue their trek down the mountain in the morning. They start to worry that they might die up there. Ben asks Alex to take a picture of him since it may be the last one taken of him before he dies. Alex recounts a story in which she met a girl who was later caught in an explosion. Instead of getting the girl help, Alex took her picture right before she died. Therefore, she refuses to take Ben's picture.

    As they continue their walk, they become separated from the dog. Ben goes after him and finds a cabin. As he looks through it, Alex feels the ground beneath her cracking. She realizes she is standing over thin ice, and she falls through into the ice cold water. Ben hears the cracking and sees Alex go down. He runs over and pulls her out, but she is unconscious and almost blue. Ben brings her to the cabin and starts a fire to warm her up.

    Alex remains unconscious for a couple of days but she eventually wakes up. While Ben is out looking for help, Alex listens to the recording from his wife again, but Ben catches her this time. Alex apologizes but Ben is clearly upset. When he is about to go out again, Alex kisses him, leading to them having sex. Afterwards, Ben tells Alex about his wife. Her name was Sarah, and they were married for eight years. She developed a brain tumor and left him when they realized it was out of his control, and she later died.

    Ben later leaves the cabin and spots a lumber mill in the distance. As he is going back to the cabin with the dog, his foot gets caught in a bear trap. Alex sets off on her own to the lumber mill as quickly as she can. She manages to flag down a truck driver before she passes out.

    Ben wakes up in the hospital. He walks over to Alex's room to find her with her fiancee, Mark (Dermot Mulroney). He thanks Ben for saving Alex's life, though Ben insists she saved him. He leaves the room heartbroken.

    Alex and Ben eventually return to their lives. Ben goes back to England to his home in South London and adopts the dog. Alex continues her life with Mark, but she still misses Ben. While hosting a party, a friend suggests to Alex that she shares whatever photos she took during her ordeal, though Alex declines since one picture is of Ben after they slept together. Alex then tries to call Ben, but he continues to decline her calls. Mark later talks to Alex and states he would always love her even if she never came back quite whole.

    Alex sends Ben some of the photos from their time on the mountain, with a note saying only he will understand what they mean. This inspires him to finally call Alex back.

    Some time later, the two meet in Manhattan at a restaurant. Ben says he never called Alex back because he thought she would be married already, but Alex says she couldn't go through with it. She tells Ben that she fell in love with him on the mountain, though Ben can't bring himself to admit he wants her back. They part ways after a hug, but they quickly regret leaving each other. They immediately turn around and run back into each other's arms.

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