There exists within us a light which reflects off those we dare sometimes to form a connection. When our time passes, that light can be seen among the stars.
In Akiva Goldman’s first feature film Winter’s Tale, these poetic elements of life and death are explored with the introduction of Peter, played by Colin Farrell(Fright Night, Minority Report). Peter begins his life an orphan in the late 19th century when he is abandoned by his parents who are refused legal entry into America. Raised to be a thief, he soon finds himself on the run from his nefarious employer Pearly(Russell Crowe). His attempts to flee the city are interrupted by two chance encounters. One is supernatural and the other is a woman named Beverly, played by Jessica Brown Findlay(Downton Abbey), who suffers from tuberculosis. Peter and Beverly develop a strong connection which is why he decides not to burglarize her father’s home. Thus begins a tale that includes love and also a battle to destroy love at all cost.
My favorite moments involved not only the dialogue between Beverly and Peter, but also between Peter and Beverly’s father Isaac, William Hurt(Into the Wild). Also good were Peter’s interactions with Beverly’s younger sister Willa(Mckayla Twiggs), which added some much needed levity to the film. Jennifer Connelly makes a pleasant appearance as a reporter in modern times named Virginia.
The supernatural portions of the story are what drive these two lovers forward. Peter is aided by a spirit animal while the rest of the forces of good and evil play out their roles unbeknownst to our main characters. Destiny is explained as something that transcends time. Which is why the film takes place in both present day and early 20th century New York City. Peter, presumably the same age, resides in both periods. His destiny is a quest to save a life, but that plan is not clear to him or us and so we are left to wonder how and who he has to save.
While I admire this modern fairy tale, I found the film suffered when it dealt with the heavier subject matter such as terminal disease and death. It picks up near the end of the film, but the middle portion becomes almost too dark and interrupts the momentum the story has built up. I would have appreciated more whimsy to balance the tone and maybe less reliance on CGI magic to engage the audience.
I recommend this movie to you for Colin Farrell’s performance which does keep the film going from one century to the next. Its flaws can be forgiven for the sake of a beautiful love story. Sometimes we just have to be patient and wait for the stars to align.
Rating: 6 out of 11
In theaters this Valentine’s Day.
Set in a mythic New York City and spanning more than a century, “Winter’s Tale” is a story of miracles, crossed destinies, and the age-old battle between good and evil.
The film stars Colin Farrell (“Total Recall”), Jessica Brown Findlay (TV’s “Downton Abbey”), and Oscar® winners Jennifer Connelly (“A Beautiful Mind”), William Hurt (“Kiss of the Spider Woman”), Eva Marie Saint (“On the Waterfront”) and Russell Crowe (“Gladiator”). “Winter’s Tale” also introduces young newcomers Ripley Sobo and Mckayla Twiggs (both from Broadway’s “Once”).