While this film will soon be forgotten, it has the greatest magical white horse since the one that appeared in Mike Newell’s classic Into the West (1992).
Winter’s Tale is a heartbreaking romantic tale wrapped in a shroud of religious symbolism. It is a tough film to describe much less recommend, particularly since Will Smith appears in a cameo role as the human form of the devil with Russell Crowe as his right-hand man.
Director/Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman has brought us an interesting film to watch and an extraordinarily difficult one to follow. The accomplished Colin Farrell plays Peter Lake, a burglar in 1915 New York living with a price on his head for offending the vicious Mr. Crowe. Suspecting that he has the gift of reincarnation, he falls in love with a dying female victim who discovers him in her home.
What happens between the two provides the strength of the entire cinematic experience. To begin with, Jessica Brown Findlay is both stunningly attractive and wonderfully subdued as the young woman knowing that she will soon die of consumption.
What happens between the two lovers will grab you by the throat regardless of your reaction to the film. William Hurt effectively plays Ms. Findlay’s father, a wealthy man with a mild sense of humor who simply wants his beloved daughter to die peacefully.
As Mr. Farrell battles with Mr. Crowe, hearts are trampled on with the film eventually becoming far too wobbly to fully grasp. The confusion is unfortunately enhanced when you see Mr. Farrell suddenly living in 2014, not aged a day.
As noted, there are some powerful sentimental sequences occurring throughout a Winter’s Tale, focusing on both the meaning of our existence and where in the expanding universe we go after death. In the process, Mr. Farrell’s entire fate rests upon a gorgeous white horse capable of suddenly flying through the air, and it was that horse that literally took our hero to a place in the stars next to his lost love.
This is a film that wants you to believe that when you stare into the clear night sky, you are looking upon the presence of dedicated relatives who provided you with your moment on Earth. Even if the devil is Will Smith, he can’t stop the relentless march of time.