He’s a thief. She’s a rich invalid. Fate brings them together and devils tear them apart. But love and angles are known to transcend time, and if one believes strongly enough, they will have the power to give one last miracle.
I think Colin Farrell lost a bet. His character, Peter Lake, falls in love with Beverly (Jessica Brown Findlay) who is plagued with a not-too-convincing fatal illness. Peter courts and woos her while also keeping an eye out for his old boss, Pearly (Russell Crowe), who is hungry for blood. There are angels, miracles, castles, flying ponies, and Will Smith. I think he, too, lost a bet.
This movie may as well be produced by the Make A Wish Foundation. I can just picture an eight-year-old girl sitting in a director’s chair saying, “I want a handsome prince, a beeeaauutiful lady, and a big white pony!” While her brother beside her yells, “And time travel! And bad guys! And gross demons whose faces split open like man-eating plants!” Winter’s Tale is in a class of its own. It’s unique, to say the least. But let’s dig a little deeper…
The majority of the film is set in 1916. Peter was born in 1895. That would make him 21 years old. Colin Farrell is a handsome man, but does he look 21…? Spoiler: the story also calls for one young character from 1916 to exist in the future. It would have been much simpler to make this “future” 1975 or even 1990. But noooo. The future is now, 2014, and this young character ends up looking pretty spry for a 105-year-old.
I feel like we need a crash course in what sickness looks like: it’s not pretty. You’re greenish-pale, weak, there’s probably a nasty cough, and in the case of consumption also known as tuberculosis, you’re hacking up blood. It’s not pretty. Jessica Brown Findlay is impossibly pretty. She also takes barefooted walks in the snow, plays the piano with enthusiastic vigour, and never, not once, so much as clears her throat. She also opens the film by ordering a new pair of eyeglasses for her weakening eyesight, but is never (ever) seen wearing them.
I don’t care if your parents are Irish, Columbian, or Chinese; if you are born in New York and raised by Americans, you will sound like a local. Thickly accented Peter is found by Native Americans, spends his childhood jumping around orphanages, and then is discovered by his Irish boss, Pearly (Russell Crowe). While Crowe’s Irish is so exaggerated it would make the Lucky Charms Leprechaun blush, I simply can’t figure out why Peter speaks with an Irish accent as well.
Lines like, “Watch out for the starlight” made me an unbeliever early on, but I can’t say I was totally prepared for my reaction at the very end. When the credits rolled, rather than jumping out of my seat, yelling, “I want a refund!” and shoving my popcorn into the arms of the nearest bystander, I just sat there and shook. From head to toe I shook with laughter. I had to grab extra napkins on the way out because I laughed so hard I cried. Unless you’re looking for a forceful chuckle, Winter’s Tale is not worth your time. It’s in a category of its own and I’m not so sure I like the genre. Sorry Winter’s Tale, but you’re a 2/10.
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