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The film's episodic structure slightly weakens its emotional impact, and it's fairly obvious that director Anthony Minghella is striving to repeat the prestigious romanticism of his Oscar-winning hit The English Patient. For the most part it works, especially in the dynamic performances of Zellweger and Kidman, and the explosive 1864 battle of Petersburg, Virginia, is recreated with violent, percussive intensity. Those who admired Frazier's novel may regret some of the changes made in Minghella's adaptation (the ending is particularly altered), but Cold Mountain remains a high-class example of grand, old-fashioned filmmaking, boosted by star power of the highest order. --Jeff Shannon