Winter’s Tale – Movie Review
Winter’s Tale – PG-13
Release Date: Fri 14 Feb 2014
The trailer for Winter’s Tale is something like the opposite of bait and switch; an interesting film made to look like a garbage supernatural romance. This film isn’t fundamentally about angels and demons, magic, or a reductive version of Snow White. It tells a fantastical story that has a few supernatural elements to focus the storytelling on what is important. It’s a shame that the trailer chose to use some misleading phrases and editing to make this movie look hokey, preachy and trite because, as Neil Gaiman says it deserves to be seen for what it is.
Colin Farrell plays Peter Lake, a thief in 1916 New York trying to pull enough scratch together to flee his former boss, Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe.) He accidentally disturbs Beverly (Jessica Brown Findlay, probably best known as Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey) while burglarizing her home. She is dying of consumption and forced to keep her body cold by extreme means, including sleeping in a tent on the roof in the New York Winter. She can see light connecting everything around her, which she finds delightful but also chalks up to the effects of her fever.
The theme of light and universal connection are the central metaphor of the story, and the main supernatural conceit is that every human has the ability to bestow one miracle in their lives. The trailer (and, as it happens the first act) lead us to believe this miracle is Peter’s kiss saving Beverly from sickness and imminent death. Instead, she dies and he wanders present-day New York with a case of amnesia. The true story is his unwrapping his true purpose, why he was unable to save Beverly and why he seems to be stuck forever at the age he was when she died.
There’s a good message here, and I’m happy to report it’s a bit deeper than the power of star-crossed young lovers. Throw in a great cameo by Will Smith and you have a solid matinee or rental.