Winter’s Tale

Posted February 15, 2014 by in


Total Score

0/ 5

Quick Stats

Genre: Fantasy
Director: Akiva Goldsman
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Actors: Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Russell Crowe
Length: 118 minutes
Release Date: 02/14/2014
Studio: Village Roadshow Pictures, Warner Bros., Weed Road Pictures
What We Thought

Winter’s Tale is a fantasy, and a dangerous one.

by Daniel Hodgson
Full Article
1916 minus 1895 is 21.  That would be the age of Colin Farrell’s character Peter Lake in Winter’s Tale.  Colin Farrell is 37.  He’s a young looking actor, but 21 is pushing it.  Casting, however, is the least of Winter’s Tale’s worries.
     The year is 1895.  Mr. and Mrs. Lake are denied entry to America because of his father’s heart condition, and put on a boat back to their home country.  Undaunted, Mr. Lake puts the infant Peter into a model ship large enough to hold the boy, and launches the small craft into the bay and off to the shores of New York.  That parents would do this is a lot to swallow.  But that’s just an appetizer.
     Flash-forward to 1916, where 20-something Peter (who looks 30-something) runs from a gang.  Their boss, Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe) wants him dead.  That’s when Peter sees a white horse that just-so-happens to be standing there.  Peter climbs the horse, which makes an impossible vault over a gate and escapes the gang.
     Peter knows he should get out of town, but sees an opportunity when a catches doctor leaving his town home.  Hoping for one last score, Peter enters the house, but is caught by the doctor’s 21-year-old daughter Beverly (Jessica Brown Findlay).  Not in the least scared of a burglar who’s holding a gun, she invites Peter to stay for tea.
     Notice they’re supposed to be the same age.  They sure don’t look the same age.
     Peter relates his afternoon to Humpstone John (Graham Greene), a Native American who had raised Peter.  Peter says that he feels like he’s “known her for 1000” years from that 15 minutes they spent together.  Humpstone tells him that there are angels and demons in the world, and that Peter had better hightail it back to Beverly’s place before Pearly gets to her.
     Sure enough, Pearly is a demon in human form.  Every human has a miracle in them, and Peter’s miracle may be to save the dying Beverly from the consumption that’s slowly killing her.  Pearly wants to stop that from happening.
     And so, Peter sets off on a white horse to save the girl he’s madly in love with (that he does not know at all) from a demon with an Irish accent.  Hey, I just report what I see.
     It’s pretty far-fetched stuff.  The character’s actions never have believable motivations, and the world around them does not make a lick of sense.  Pearly calls Peter’s horse (that’s actually a Pegasus) a “dog” a few times, for reasons that are never explained.  There’s a magical lake village that Pearly and his men are forbidden to enter unless the rules (whatever they are, whoever made them) change.  Why they change, the movie does not explain.  There’s also a magical bed that’s supposed to heal people.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t, because God said so.  Really, because God said so.
     As Winter’s Tale would have it, our raison d’être is the completion of a divinely determined, specific task.  Are our lives meaningless should we fail that one thing? something that’s not made clear what exactly it is.  And what about the significance of the rest of our lives?  Why can’t we determine our own goals and find our meaning in our own lives, piece by piece?
     Winter’s Tale is a fantasy, and a dangerous one.  It asks that we turn to religion and magical rituals to cure very real, potentially fatal ailments, a solution which will only end in grief.  There are diseases one cannot simply “pray away.”  There is a place for spirituality in our lives, but it should not take the place of medicine and science.
     At the end of the film, it claims that all people are special, and the universe will bend over backwards for each and every one of us, but the story in no way bears that idea out.  Winter’s Tale make a huge statement, and then the story proves exactly the opposite.
     This movie really pissed me off.

About the Author

Daniel Hodgson

Daniel has a degree in film from the University of Texas at Austin, and writes about himself in the third-person, because that's the fashion.


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