Winter’s Tale
Angels & Demons

Winter’s Tale is being released on Valentine’s Day, but although the story does revolve around a love story, the movie feels more like a film that would come out around Christmas time.  After all, angels and miracles are Christmas movie staples and they play a major role in this time-traveling fantasy.

Colin Farrell stars as Peter Lake, a young man who, like many immigrants, came to America in a boat.  What is unique about his boat is that it was a model.  Forced to travel back to Russia, Peter’s parents steal the model of a ship just big enough to fit their baby boy.  Washing up on the shore of New York and discovered by some homeless gentlemen, Lake ultimately grew up in a string of orphanages.  He was doing odd jobs when he was discovered by Russell Crowe’s Pearly Soames, who put Peter to work as a burglar.

Crowe as Pearly Soames in Winter's TaleWhile attempting to rob a house, Peter meets Beverly Penn, a young woman afflicted with Consumption. The two fall in love and this concerns Pearly, who is actually a demon charged with preventing miracles here on Earth.  It seems everyone has one miracle that they could use and Pearly is dead set on stopping Peter from using his miracle to save Beverly.  Events transpire and the movie suddenly moves forward one hundred years.  For reasons that are explained near the end of the film, Peter is still alive but living with amnesia.  That is, until he comes into contact with a journalist and her cancer-stricken daughter.  Not only do they help Peter reclaim his memory, but they also help him to discover his ultimate purpose.

Watching Winter’s Tale is like watching a movie from an era long gone.  There is nothing cynical in this film; it is completely unabashed in its schmaltziness.  The movie just presents us with a world in which angels and demons walk among us without ever feeling the need to explain itself.  In that sense, the movie is somewhat refreshing.

Refreshing as it may be, however, it still needs to entertain.  Although there are many things to like in the movie and even a few scenes that are a true delight, the film ultimately struggles due to a slow pace and a lack of any real energy.

Despite playing a character who supposedly had a history of dancing and entertaining people on the streets to earn a dime, Colin Farrell is rather wooden and does not seem to have much fun with the role.  Russell Crowe is a little more animated, but we have definitely seen better performances from each of these actors, Farrell just as recently as last year’s Saving Mr. Banks.

The movie also missteps with a surprising celebrity cameo.  Although I am a fan of cameos and this was certainly a personality I love seeing in movies, it was just so shocking and out-of-place that it distracted from the flow of the movie.  It became more about the actor than the character. It also didn’t help that the character was wearing 21st Century clothing in the early 20th Century.  Sure, the movie plays with the timeline, but it was still and odd choice.

Winter’s Tale is a movie that probably would have worked better as a television special released in the middle of December than as a major film release in the middle of February.  There are definitely talented people involved and that talent shines through in parts, but as a whole the film just doesn’t quite hold up.

Winter’s Tale is rated PG-13 for “violence and some sensuality.”  This is a family-friendly, but it does feature some brief scares and content that might be too much for younger viewers.

Courtesy of a local publicist, Jeff attended a promotional screening of Winter’s Tale.