run time: 118 mins
considered: Drama, Fantasy, Mystery
director: Akiva Goldsman
starring: Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Russell Crowe, Matt Bomer, Lucy Griffiths, Michael Patrick Crane, Brain Hutchison, Kevin Corrigan, Alan Doyle, Jon Patrick Walker, David O’Brien Hart, William Hurt, Maurice jones, Mckayla Twiggs, Matthew R. Staley
movie summary: Winter’s Tale is another take on the classic tale of good vs. evil. Peter Lake (Colin Farrell) has a gift that he isn’t aware of for decades while trying to move on from his past and escape an old nemesis Pearly (Russell Crowe). He meets Beverly’s love of his life (Jessica Brown Findlay) in the early part of the century but loses her before he can actually build a life for them. Peter spends the next 90 years wandering around the city trying to relive his relationship and bring closure to his life.
In the late 1890s, a young couple with a baby boy is at Ellis Island in New York City with the hope of migrating to the US. They are rejected but manage to sneak their baby boy Peter away on a small boat and set him on the water with the hopes he reaches the big city. Peter grows up living in the attic of the famous Grand Central Station and takes to a life of crime to make ends meet. He gets mixed up in the wrong crowd of thugs led by Pearly, who wants Peter dead after a double-cross and some stolen money. Pearly’s gang of thugs chase Peter all over town until he meets a mysterious white horse with magical powers and rescues him. He vows to leave New York with his new horse buddy and start fresh in a southern city, but on the way out-of-town, he stops by a few homes to steal some things they will need for their journey.
The pair decide to rob one last house where Peter meets Beverly Penn, a beautiful young woman who is dying of an incurable disease. Peter is so taken back by her beauty and grace that he doesn’t rob the house. Instead, he sits down and has a cup of tea with her. When he leaves the house, he sits across the street all night and wonders about this amazing girl he just met. The very next day, Pearly has a vision of the red-headed Beverly and dispatches his henchmen there to kidnap her. Peter is still outside her house when his horse begins to act crazy and notices Pearly’s men trying to take her away, so Peter gets on the horse and rescues her. She is amazed by this courageous act and asks to be taken to see her father at their upstate mansion on the lake.
Once they reach safety at the mansion, Peter meets Beverly’s father, Isaac, who questions his daughter’s intentions. He agrees to let Peter court Beverly, so the couple spend many days and nights strolling through the garden, attending dinner parties, and being extremely happy with each other. Then one night, Beverly becomes ill and doesn’t get up the next morning. Peter rushes her to the garden, where he places her on a specially made bed and attempts to kiss her back to life. Beverly’s funeral happens a few days later in the city where Peter is not invited. He watches from a distance before getting on his horse and returns to Grand Central Station when Pearly and his gang find Peter crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and throw him off.
Peter lives the next 90+ years roaming the streets of New York City, wondering what his special gift is because he could not save the love of his life. He often forgets who he is, how long he’s been alive, and what happened to Beverly. One day while trying to do some research at the public library, he meets Virginia Gamely (Jennifer Connelly), who offers to help him find the answers he’s been looking for. Pearly is still alive and well when he realizes that Peter is alive and sets out to kill him once and for all. Peter turns to Virginia for help hiding from Pearly only to find out that her daughter is battling cancer. When Pearly shows up at her apartment building, the white horse returns to rescue Peter, Virginia, and her daughter to bring them back to Beverly’s mansion on the lake. Peter thinks he can help her and reassure them that Pearly can’t reach them there until he shows up with his gang. Virginia’s daughter passes out while Pearly starts a fistfight with Peter. Time is running out for a miracle to happen and a shift in power between good and evil to occur. Peter has to do whatever he can to save himself, Virginia, and her daughter.
my thoughts: The things we do for our best friends! Winter’s Tale had a wide release across North America, but it lasted only one week here in Edmonton. My best friend wanted to go see this movie, but we didn’t have time to make it in the short time it was out. We waited a few weeks for it to cycle to the cheap second-run theatre, where we only paid $4 to watch it. Thank God for the cheap theatre because this one wasn’t worth the full price of admission. According to box office numbers, this movie cost $60 million to make and so far has only made about $12 million back. Those numbers kinda sum up this movie.
The story itself is all over the place, while many award-winning actors and actresses signed on to this project only to downgrade their careers with their roles in this movie. Russell Crowe plays a human demon who is so thirsty for blood that his accent changes when he gets excited. Thankfully for Crowe, this movie didn’t stay in theatres long enough because this could have meant a potential public relations disaster for his other movie Noah. Pearly/Crowe’s boss, the Devil, is played by Will Smith, yes, Will Smith. Can anyone imagine the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/Agent J playing the Devil? Well, obviously the director and writers did because he played a laid back book reading Devil. This role is a far cry from any of his other famous roles, and I personally hope this isn’t a step in the wrong direction for him. Colin Farrell has played in some good roles and some not so good roles, this one we can chalk up as bad. He does a good job with the material he is handed, but the reality is there’s no real substance to the story or his character. Jennifer Connelly comes in at the end to bring another A-list actress to a story that really could have been over by the time her character becomes involved. Thankfully she is a precious piece to this movie’s puzzle, or this could have been the greatest bomb in movie history.
I apologize for being so negative in the previous paragraph, but I honestly wondered why these people choose these roles. It can’t be for the money, or was it? Did the story interest them? Was this just another film to add to their resume, or did they want to play a totally different role than we are used to seeing? I have more questions than answers about why this movie was made.
My advice to anyone interested in watching Winter’s Tale wait for it on video on demand or Netflix to save yourself the money.
my star rating: 2 out of 10
imdb.com: 6.2 out of 10
rottentomatoes.com: 13% out 100%