You know those films you really want to see and never do? Because of time or shiny newer releases. This has been my experience with this costume drama. From the moment I read about Winter’s Tale, I wanted to see it. From the moment I saw the trailer I knew I’d be enchanted.
Winter’s Tale (2014) Film Review
The story centers on Peter Lake (Colin Farrell), a rogue with a past. Known for his thieving tricks, Peter isn’t about to give up… or maybe he is. One last score is in order after he’s rescued by a mystical creature – a white horse, from the clutches of his former boss (Russell Crowe). While roaming the streets as an orphan, this was the man who taught him everything he knows.
Then he meets Beverley Penn (Jessica Findlay Brown). Beverley is a wealthy heiress dying of “the fever.” When she and Peter meet – as he’s about to rob her home, no less, he is immediately struck by her. Because of her, Peter slowly begins to change, but fate has something else entirely in mind for this star-crossed pair of lovers.
To be honest, I do like this more than I anticipated, but the movie isn’t as good as I expect it to be either. Together, with my mom, we sat down to watch this, and we both had to adjust to the reality of this film. Instead of being a simple albeit beautiful costume drama, it transitions between magical realism and fantasy. Not perhaps in the traditional ways, however there are prevalent elements of fantasy ingrained in the script and really, in order for the story to work (and circle back to completeness), fantasy in some form was a given.
“No life is more important than another. …and one day, when we have done what we alone are capable of doing, we get to rise up and reunite with those we have loved the most, forever embraced. What if we get to become… stars.” – Winter’s Tale
For the con side, I honestly don’t like the small scale picture of this film. This includes some elements that almost “cheapen” the script. A script that, in my opinion, could have dazzled much brighter. (Things I cannot get into, because spoilers!)
There’s a lot of allegorical themes, and it does have a distinct line between good and evil. Because of this – the representatives between light and darkness imagery isn’t hard to pick up on. This is all fine, and I take no issue with anything the script has in mind. Where I do complain is the character of Lucifer. Something about his scenes and characterization just doesn’t “fit” with the rest of this story. I couldn’t wind up feeling anything beyond annoyance during his scenes.THROWBACK #PERIODDRAMA REVIEW | Discover 'Winter’s Tale': A Unique Time Travel Epic About Love Click To Tweet
The romance also doesn’t feel 100% “right.” Likely this is just me being picky. The progression is fine, but how it winds up breaking seems heartbreaking, perhaps, but also awkward. Beyond these quibbles, I did enjoy this film. While I’d re-watch it, my mother probably won’t. She, like me, wanted to like this and neither one of us walk away with a “good” feeling. A second viewing is likely to reveal more symbolism because I won’t focus on wondering what the heck the “supernatural” vibe is about. There is still good, like its exquisite staging and naturally, I adore seeing Jessica in something outside of her Downton Abbey role. What the cast, producers and company put together is phenomenal. That much cannot be argued.
If you enjoy fantasy romances, you’ll like this film. In its own way, it’s really a kind of fairy tale, that has layers upon layers of magic on a deeper emotional sphere. Its ending might not be traditional – some might even say, it’s a little bit of heartbreak, but for this script and story, it IS beautiful.
Content: there is one scene of a couple sleeping together; she wants to be “loved.” There’s some kissing as they fall into the bed. Next we see them lying side by side. There’s some minor violence and profanity. The film is PG13.