Movie: Winter’s Tale
Rating: 2 1/2 Stars (out of 5) (Sorry, Teresa….)
Review: In 1895 a Russian couple land at Ellis Island with a baby boy, ready to work on their American Dream. Alas, the husband fails the medical exam for immigrants, and the young family is scheduled for immediate deportation. The man liberates a model boat that he finds in the terminal, and as the family is leaving New York harbor, the baby boy is launched towards shore with the hopes of a better life. The lad, named Peter Lake, is indeed taken in and given a home, but soon it is 1916, and the grown man (Colin Farrell) has fallen under the influence of an evil crime boss Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe). Peter somehow runs afoul of his depraved mentor, and we first meet him on the run from Pearly and his thuggish minions who have cornered Lake in an alley. But wait! There is magic at work here, and Peter flies to safety on a winged white horse.
Having escaped the clutches of Pearly Soames (at least for the moment), Peter goes about his trade which is burglarizing the homes of rich folks. While going about this business, Peter runs across the ephemeral beauty Beverly Penn (Jessica Brown Findlay). Peter quickly surmises there is something magical about Beverly (“I am pulled toward her like air when I am under water”), and postpones his plans to flee the city. Love blossoms rapidly, which is good because young Beverly has consumption, and is constantly trying to lower her body temperature.
Peter meets the father, Mr Penn (William Hurt), and manages to become a hero and save the family’s lives. Soon Peter squires Beverly to a New Year’s ball, and love is in the air for the couple. But in addition to magic, there is much evil at work as well. The malevolent Pearly Soames corners Peter once again, and the young man’s demise seems certain. Except…it is now 2014.
Peter awakes to a strange new modern world. Everything has changed, except him; he still looks exactly the same. He knows not what has happened to him, but experiences a growing realization that he has been saved for a purpose.
The bottom line is this movie is based on Mark Helprin’s celebrated novel from 1983, and the book needed 800 pages to work all of it’s magical storylines. This movie tried to boil it down to two hours, and too much had to be jettisoned along the way. For viewers who just want to see the movie as a magical love story, it is fine on that level. For the rest of us, major actors like William Hurt, Graham Greene and Eva Marie Saint got the bum’s rush, along with necessary sub plots. Not to mention the brief appearances of Pearly Soames’ boss, Lucifer, played by a major star that shall be nameless here.
Huh? What the ….: Okay, some plot devices have to be tolerated to make the film work. But what are the chances that an immigrant about to be deported is going to be allowed to wander about and get his hands on an oversized model ship, never mind be allowed to cart it back aboard the ship?
Somebody tell me what was the deal with the dude flipping the coin in 1916, and the same guy (looking the same) flipping the coin in 2014? Another plot from the novel that got snipped?
Dialogue Nugget: “Inside of us we all have one miracle, which is only for one person”.
Post Credits Stuff: None