Another Miracle on the Mountain
"Lost Holiday: The Jim & Suzanne Shemwell Story" is not the first rescue drama based on a true story which I have watched and unfortunately it suffers the same issues that the other movies have had. That issue is a matter of connection because "Lost Holiday" feels like a very personal movie, something special to the Shemwell's and those who were involved in their miracle up on the mountain. But for those who weren't involved, especially those with no knowledge of the Shemwell's story it leaves you an outsider looking in and what you see is not that different to other mountain rescue movies.
Now from what I can see in adapting the Shemwell's story into a screenplay certain facts have changed such as situations and things which happened on the mountain. But the good news is the heart of the story is still there so we have the troubled marriage between Jim & Suzanne and the 6 days stuck on the mountain when they decide to go out on their snow-mobiles.
What does that mean well for the first half of the movie it is all about the troubled marriage with Suzanne struggling to deal with Jim's happy go lucky approach to life whilst Jim struggles with Suzanne's need for order and list making leading to arguments? We get arguments before they go up the mountain and we get arguments when they get stuck up the mountain but it does paint an interesting picture of a couple who are in trouble when it comes to their relationship. Of course this side evolves because we watch how being lost and in danger for several days forces them closer and for their true feelings to come to the surface.
Now there is the other side of the movie which is the rescue which to be honest is probably one of the most ordinary series of scenes I have seen. We have a plane looking for them, a helicopter looking for them as well as people on snow-mobiles and foot scouring the mountain. And whilst all this is going on we also have a mix of the Shemwell daughters trying to carry on as normal whilst preparing for Christmas and their grandmother trying to keep faith that they will return, which connects to the story of her own husband who was lost on the mountain.
The trouble is that as an outsider, someone just watching "Lost Holiday: The Jim & Suzanne Shemwell Story" because they see it on TV will feel like an outsider. It is impossible to connect to the danger that Jim and Suzanne were in or the drama or the rescuers because it is just stock scenes you will see in other movies. As such this feels like a movie made not only for the Shemwell's but also the rescuers and maybe those who followed the story in the press.
What this all boils down to is that "Lost Holiday: The Jim & Suzanne Shemwell Story" ends up a very middle of the road true story rescue movie which like many of the other movies based on a true story fails to really connect with the audience. That doesn't take away from what a miraculous tale the Shemwell's story is but the movie fails to truly do it justice and bring it to life.