Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘Winter’s Tale’ Review: Starring Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay and Russell Crowe

I can’t remember the last time I saw a romantic movie that I despised. Coming from a critic and more importantly, a fangirl, who is obsessed with romantic films and stories, Winter’s Tale couldn’t have been more disappointing and boring.

Based on the popular ‘80s novel by Mark Helprin, Winter’s Tale tells the story of Peter Lake (Colin Farrell), a burglar who falls in love with Beverly (Jessica Brown Findlay), a young heiress with a rare medical condition. Beverly suffers from consumption and must remain in cold temperatures to survive. Peter’s former boss, who also happens to be a demon named Pearly (Russell Crowe), wants revenge and will stop at nothing to hurt Peter and kill Beverly. As Pearly chases after Peter and Beverly, drama unfolds and several hearts are broken.

The film also features several supporting characters including Matt Bomer, who is only in the first 10 minutes of the film, Will Smith as Satan in a Jimi Hendrix t-shirt and Jennifer Connelly who shows up in the remaining 25 minutes of the film. With such a fantastic cast, I almost feel embarrassed for them to be involved in this disastrous novel adaptation.

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In his directorial debut, Academy-Award winner screenwriter Akiva Goldman (A Beautiful Mind) adapted Helprin’s novel for the big screen. Either the magical realism story is one that was too fantasy-fiction to have a smooth transition to film or Helprin just had major issues adapting the 700-page novel to a 115-minute long film.

As an audience, we are supposed to believe that this is one of the greatest love stories ever told, yet Colin Farrell and Jessica Brown Findlay only have about 5 minutes of screen time together where they talk over tea before they profess their love for one another. I’m all for stories where the couple falls in love at first sight, but this is just ridiculous. Add a mystical flying horse to the backdrop and the hilarious role of Will Smith as the Devil and the film is basically laughable.

We feel no connection to the characters, so when something tragic happens, it doesn’t sting our hearts like it should. It’s also a shameful waste of talent for the lovely Jennifer Connelly, who doesn’t show up much later in the film. I would’ve rather seen her throughout the whole movie than Jessica Brown Findlay. Sorry! And Colin Farrell, who I adore and thought was spectacular in Saving Mr. Banks, wears a horrible wig during the film and runs around mystical New York City like a homeless man. Terrible.

It’s a shame that such A-list talent was wasted in the film and that gorgeous Colin Farrell was hidden behind a bad haircut. Who do you think the target audience is on Valentine’s Day anyway? It’s only a month and a half into 2014, but Winter’s Tale is the worst film I’ve seen so far this year. I wish I had better news for Colin Farrell fans.

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