Written by Mallory Delchamp
Winter’s Tale, the latest film from Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) has every component a decent romantic drama should possess: a handsome leading man, a beautiful damsel in distress and an evil Russell Crowe. At first glance the film seemed like it would be the perfect flick for Valentine’s Day weekend but unfortunately it just doesn’t fit the bill. Now while the film certainly isn’t horrible it doesn’t hold a candle to other films of the genre, it fact it more so seems like a romantic time travel piece gone haywire. But, every year Hollywood releases mediocre love stories for female-filled audiences and typically they do fairly well at the box office, so that being said this film does fit that bill.
Winter’s Tale, based on the Mark Helprin’s 1983 novel of the same name, tells the elaborate story of Peter Lake, an Irish burglar and his relationship with an heiress named Beverly Penn who also happens to by dying of consumption. While it may appear as a simple Nicholas Sparks-esque love story there of course are conflicts throughout the film including time travel, miracles and a never ending battle between good and evil. When describing this overly sentimental cinematic piece the first word that comes to mind is “confusing”. As a viewer I almost felt like I was watching a Valentine’s Day episode of Doctor Who minus the intelligence and every other aspect that makes the BBC hit TV series enjoyable. Like many recent films I have reviewed, I just couldn’t bring myself to understand the point and/or purpose of the movie. At one moment it seemed like a thrilling time travel story and at other times it seemed like an overly romantic and dramatic soap opera complete with period costumes.
Where the screenplay falls short the talented cast makes up for it. Colin Farrell (despite his terrible hairstyle) plays the believable lovesick criminal Peter, Russell Crowe portrays the villainous Pearly Soames, and Jessica Brown Findlay of Downton Abbey fame portrays the film’s leading lady. Now any film is worth watching when you have Crowe and Farrell playing opposite each other. And, while the film is chopped full of romance it does have a fair share of action sequences between the two blockbuster heroes. Matt Bomer (White Collar) and Will Smith also make a brief appearance.
Academy Award winning composer, Hans Zimmer orchestrates the film’s score and unlike his previous credits the score of the film is borderline forgetful however KT Tunstall’s “Miracle” which is featured on the soundtrack is a beautiful song and is perhaps the only redeeming musical piece of the motion picture.
Bottom Line: Winter’s Tale (or the more appropriate title, Winter’s Fail) is definitely not a cinematic masterpiece. At 118 minutes in length, the film is a bit too long for my personal preference but it could easily become any rom-com fan’s guilty pleasure-that is if you prefer mush to substance and decent story telling.