By: Cynthia A.
Directed By: Akiva Goldsman
Screenplay by: Akiva Goldsman
Based on Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin
Starring: Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, Eva Marie Saint, Russell Crowe & Will Smith
Set in 1916, Peter Lake, an Irish thief is on the run from the demon who raised him, the gangster Pearly Soames, after deciding to leave. Rescued by a mysterious white horse that soon becomes his guardian angel, the pair try to settle some scored before running off to Florida and escape those hunting him. But then, while trying to rob a house, he meets Beverly Penn, a young woman dying of tuberculosis, who steals his heart and offers his hers. Then, as events take a toll and Beverly is taken from him, but the gift of love, the miracle that Beverly gave him, offered him a chance to save the life he was unable to save before.
Not your typical romance flick, if it’s that at all. Winter’s Tale begins in the early 1900’s with one Peter Lake running for his life from the crook who raised him, the man who taught him how to steal. But of course, Pearly, played by Russell Crowe, is more than just some bad guy, he’s actually a demon a hell.
The underlying theme of the film is hope captured in the romance between a dying girl and a no-good thief who loves her. It displays that, although there is darkness and light in the world, as long as humankind does not give up hope, the heavens will continue to thrive and the light in the world will never be snuffed out. Over all it’s a beautiful message in the movie that may viewers may miss as the movie is marketed as a love story when it’s more than that. Of course, love is the drive here, through love miracles can happen and the hearts touched by such love impact people in such miraculous ways that it’s impossible to focus on the mystical of the film. In fact, the added faith based mysticism that turns this story into a fairy tale serves to drive audiences’ away viewers away as they try to grasp what Will Smith is doing in this film as Lucifer and why there is a horse with angelic wings.
The fairy tale aspect, while not entirely convoluted, distracts from the original premise of love in this film, throwing viewers down a rabbit hole, so to speak. While not convoluted, the dialogue and context of the film doesn’t flush out all the necessary details that would allowed for better understanding as well as enjoyment. Marketing closed off a lot of people targeting the wrong audiences inadvertently misleading them. Just remember to keep an open mind and open heart about this film and anyone watching it will be sure to enjoy it. Remember: it’s not a love story, it’s a fairy tale about hope. ★★½ (out of 4 ☆’s | B-)