Review: Miracles, magic and love abound in ‘Winter’s Tale’
Chuck Smith (The Philippine Star) - February 13, 2014 - 12:56pm

MANILA, Philippines – “Nothing happens that isn’t supposed to,” says one of the characters in “Winter’s Tale,” a movie written and directed by Akiva Goldsman.

With this dialogue, you’ll get an idea what kind of a movie “Winter’s Tale” is. Based on a novel, the movie involves flying white horses, angels and demons, and the idea that love is so powerful it can defy even time and death. It is a film that is both romantic and magical.

The movie starts at the turn of the century, where two immigrants, turned away from entering America, sent their baby towards New York inside a model toy ship. We are then transported to 1916, where the baby boy grew up to be Peter Lake (Colin Farell). Pearly Soames (Rusell Crowe), “loyal servant to Lucifer” and leader of a group of thugs who will stop at nothing to prevent Peter from “performing his miracle,”

During a confrontation, Peter is saved from Pearly by a miraculous white house (named Athansor in the book). After his escape, Athansor somehow persuades Peter to do one final act of thievery, which leads him to Beverly Penn (Jessica Brown Findlay), a young woman suffering from consumption and only has a few months to live. This convinces Peter that his divine purpose is to save Beverly from death.

When Beverly dies and Pearly successfully attacks him, Peter is whisked away to 2014, unable to remember anything from his past. He crosses paths with Virginia Gamely (Jennifer Connelly), who will help him discover his true “miracle.”

The movie goes back and forth between realism and magic (the novel source material is regarded as one of the best American magic realism novels during the decade it was published), failing to find the right tone. There are moments when the film shines as it lets the whimsical elements of the film take over, but Goldsman’s treatment of the film as a straight romantic drama makes everything else in “Winter’s Tale” look somewhat silly.

The cast, however, did a good job at making “Winter’s Tale” a worthy viewing option. Crowe in particular worked hard to sell his scar-face demon Pearly a threatening presence in a film that chooses to shy away from its whimsical roots to espouse New Age-sounding philosophies and ideas about love and life (“The sicker I become, the more I can see that everything is connected by light,” says Beverly.) Findlay and Farrell were able to sell their impossible love story just as well. For these three actors alone, “Winter’s Alone” is a worthy viewing option for Valentine’s Day.

AKIVA GOLDSMAN ATHANSOR BEVERLY BEVERLY PENN COLIN FARELL FINDLAY AND FARRELL JENNIFER CONNELLY JESSICA BROWN FINDLAY NEW AGE NEW YORK
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