By Erin Ratigan/tr news editor
The trailer for Winter’s Tale was incredibly misleading.
Though it didn’t give away much of the plot, it suggested that the movie is about Peter Lake (Colin Farrell) searching for his lost love, Beverly Penn (Jessica Findlay). Really, it is about Peter searching for his destiny, which comes in the form of a redheaded female.
To give any more away would spoil a major plot twist.
The story first focuses on Peter’s life in New York City in 1817. While robbing a wealthy newspaper magnate, he stumbles upon Beverly, who offers him tea. What follows is a whirlwind romance, lasting roughly a week before she dies of consumption.
In the meantime, Peter is being followed by a spooky-looking Irishman named Pearly (Russell Crowe), who works for the devil. Pearly raised Peter to be a criminal and was apparently unsuccessful. After killing Beverly, he tries to kill Peter as well. It is never explained why.
The film then switches to modern day, where Peter is being kept alive by universal forces, so he might fulfill his destiny.
The cinematography is artistic with heavy contrast between light and dark throughout. At several points, it might have been shot in black and white, and the audience wouldn’t have noticed the difference.
The music is lovely as well. With Hans Zimmer composing, that is to be expected. The violins and piano interludes set the tone for each scene quite well and at times is better at portraying emotion than some of the people on screen.
Despite its artistry and unique filming, Winter’s Tale has major flaws.
The only thing viewers learn about Beverly is that she’s sick. This makes it difficult to understand her appeal or to truly feel bad when she dies. For a film advertised as a miraculous love story, that is pretty unforgivable.
Then there is an unsettling scene, where Pearly goes to visit his boss, Lucifer. Of all people, why did they cast Will Smith as the devil? Trying to follow dialogue with the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song playing in one’s mind is very distracting.
While Pearly is telling him his plans for killing Peter, Lucifer tells Pearly to reconsider his plan. He must be really screwed up if even Satan is asking him, “Don’t you think that’s a little extreme?”
A problem also exists with the timeline. During a stop at the New York Sun, Peter bumps into Willa (Eva Marie Saint), Beverly’s little sister. Not only is she still alive, she is the editor-in-chief of her father’s newspaper despite the fact that she should be at least 110 years old by now. This was clearly an oversight on the director’s part.
Lastly, there is the horse.
A white horse is present during almost every major scene in the movie. It also flies and brings with it a strong My Little Pony vibe, making it hard to take its symbolism seriously.
This is a Valentine’s Day film in the purest sense: It lacks depth, even for a chick-flick.