Release Date: February 14, 2014
Cast: Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe
Director: Akiva Goldsman
Studio: Village Roadshow Pictures, Weed Road Pictures
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Genre(s): Supernatural, Romance, Drama
Based On Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin
No, that’s not a typo, or a cut off title. This movie struggled.
Like, it struggled really hard.
And, it’s not like we all were expecting it to be some great masterpiece. It was obvious at the trailer that this was a train chugging to its own death. But I was lured by Colin Farrell and Jessica Brown Findlay, who I dearly missed in Downton Abbey. I’m not going to lie, even with the warning from the trailer of how bad this movie could be, I was still really excited to see it.
And maybe, if this show didn’t include the most convoluted plot in the world, I may have been able to give this movie one more star. Now the truth is, I did enjoyed the film in the end. But there were too many moments during the film that made me laugh, not because they were funny, but because it was just foolish (for anyone who watched Downton Abbey, Findlay’s end in the film was, sadly, a bit laughable).
Was the plot bad? No. The story may not be for everyone, but I honestly believe it’s a good one. I have never read the book that its based on, but this movie didn’t turn me off of reading it. The romance between Peter and Beverly is pretty adorable, and the premise of the battle between good and evil is great. Even if Will Smith is Lucifer. I can even buy the whole future plot, with Jennifer Connelly’s character.
But I believe that this was never a story meant to be a movie. It contains one too many plotlines, one too many supernatural elements, and one too many bad lines for me to enjoy it seriously as a piece of work.
Perhaps if we were told right off the bat that this is not the same world as our own, that this is a parallel universe or an alternate universe, the audience would be able to suspend disbelief. Maybe if we were told a little bit more about the battle between good and evil early on in the story, we could understand why we needed to suffer through more lens flares than a J.J. Abrams movie.
I don’t want to blame Akiva Goldsman for this, because I know that this is an impossible project to really get right without cutting and editing major points in the story. But god, I expected more from someone who wrote A Beautiful Mind, worked on Fringe (lens flares: explained), wrote Cinderella Man, and directed Kings.
The cast doesn’t lack any talent, but they flounder under the weight of a difficult plot. I enjoyed appearances by Matt Bomer and Lucy Griffiths (not surprising that their fictional baby turned out to be the gorgeous Colin Farrell), and I didn’t even hate the idea of Will Smith as Lucifer.
But like I said, this is not a story for a movie.
Final Thoughts: With some major editing and reworking of the plot, this could have been a great eclectic movie. But unfortunately Winter’s Tale falls very flat, and unless you are watching it for the actors, don’t pay money for this movie.