Winter’s Tale Review

poster from the Warner Bros. Pictures film Winters Tale

I was underwhelmed by this week’s movie choices: one remake of an 80s movie (Robocop), one film adaptation of a novel (Winter’s Tale), and one film adaptation of a novel that is also a remake of an 80s movie (Endless Love). I probably should have said ‘the hell with it’ and gone to Vampire Academy but I didn’t. I went to Winter’s Tale. Blame Colin Farrell.

Angels conspire to help a handsome thief fall in love with a lonely girl dying of tuberculosis before Lucifer’s forces can kill him.

Winter’s Tale is partly historical fiction, as it’s mostly set in the early 1900s, and partly fantasy, because there are angels and demons and magic horses. It’s the literary type of fantasy, though, because the magic is just there to assist the story in being DEEP and MOVING. So it’s soppy, but the damn thing managed to make me cry anyway.


In 1895 a mom and a dad (Lucy Griffiths and Matt Bomer) are turned away at Ellis Island because of TB (I think). Instead of taking their baby back to Russia with them, they put him in a toy boat and set him adrift in the Hudson, because apparently that was safer?

Victoria and Abby from the Warner Bros. Pictures film Winters Tale

Uh, babies can swim right?

Anyway the Russian baby grows up to be Irish for some reason, and is played by Colin Farrell with a Three Stooges haircut. Maybe that was sexy at the time? Just to make everything completely absurd and confusing, Peter Lake the Irish Russian also has a horse named Horse that occasionally has magic invisible wings and can leap over tall buildings.

Peter and the horse named Horse from the Warner Bros. Pictures film Winters Tale

Sorry, Horse. I learned how to name animals from George of the Jungle.

Peter Lake is a just a normal guy who works for an evil crime lord named Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe). He has a mechanical aptitude, so his job is to steal things. He’s good at it, but since Pearly is literally a demon, the fact that Peter doesn’t cut people’s throats as he rips them off means he’s not going to cut it in the gang.

Pearly Soames from the Warner Bros. Pictures film Winters Tale

Bring me his head. With some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

As a human, Peter (apparently) has a miracle inside him and his destiny is to give it to someone else. Every now and then guardian angels will show up to give him clues or a ride, but mostly he’s on his own. Through angelic intervention, Peter meets Beverly Penn (Jessica Brown Findlay). Since she’s dying of TB, everyone decides Peter’s miracle is going to be saving her life by loving her so much she can’t die.

Beverley entices Peter from the Warner Bros. Pictures film Winters Tale

Um, Beverly, you don’t think it’s possible I might accidentally f*** you to death instead?

Pearly’s job is to stop miracles from happening, so the obvious solution to all his problems is to kill Peter and/or Beverly. This should be easy, because he commands a whole mob of human thugs, but since he shoots everyone who screws up, thugs are a little thinner on the ground than they might be otherwise, and Peter and Beverly have enough time to fall in love. They have great chemistry, but it’s a little distracting that their love theme has the same first four notes as The Lord of the Rings.

Peter and Beverley ride Horse from the Warner Bros. Pictures film Winters Tale

Hi ho, Shadowfax!

Annnnd here’s where the review gets tricky, because if I tell you how the movie goes from Peter being in love with Beverly to Peter in the present day, it would be a spoiler. A sad, tragic, maybe a little bit funny spoiler that I only half saw coming. So suffice it to say that about three quarters of the way through the movie when the sad part usually comes (HINT HINT) Peter wakes up in our present with no memory.

Peter in the graveyard from the Warner Bros. Pictures film Winters Tale

The spoiler is IN NO WAY related to these gravestones.

He meets a reporter named Virgina (Jennifer Connolly), her young daughter Abby (Ripley Sobo) and the old lady version of Beverly’s little sister Willa (Eva Marie Saint). A few microfiches later, his memories are back, and I have to say, everyone is remarkably accepting of the fact that Peter is a hundred and some odd years old but still looks about thirty five. This is presumably because skepticism on their part would slow down the story too much.

Victoria and Peter look at microfiche from the Warner Bros. Pictures film Winters Tale

So, not-dead dead guy, do you want to come over for dinner?

Pearly (who has also not aged) finds out that Peter’s still alive and comes to finish the job, but not before Peter figures out why he’s now supposedly immortal and what his miracle is for. Yay happy sob sob everyone gets to float up and be stars in the sky, because apparently that’s what happens when you’re good. Funny, I thought ten billion years of being on fire was more of a hell thing, but what do I know? I dropped out of Sunday school at fourteen.

being a star like in Winters Tale

Despite its confusing fantasy elements and somewhat depressing storyline, I liked Winter’s Tale. You probably will too if you’re a fan sweeping semi-historical epics with bittersweet endings, like Titanic or Pearl Harbor, or if you like any book/movie written by Nicholas Sparks.

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