“Have you heard of this movie Winter’s Tale?”
This is a question which has been posed to me on more than one occasion as of late. To my great shame, my answer was, “No.” However, now it seems like a day doesn’t go by where I haven’t seen at least one TV ad for Winter’s Tale. From these ads, I gather that Colin Farrell stars as a man who seems to have no memory in the present day of having been in a doomed romance over 100 years ago. Of this his character oddly states, “I’ve had no memory for as long as I can remember.” Plus, Russell Crowe is around saying things like, “He is neither angel nor demon. How is he still alive?” Jennifer Connelly likely speaks for the audience in at one point proclaiming, “What’s happening here?”
Winter’s Tale’s official plot synopsis adds a little more detail:
Set in 1916 and present-day Manhattan, Winter’s Tale follows the story of Peter Lake (Colin Farrell). Peter Lake is a thief who falls in love with Beverly Penn (Jessica Brown Findlay), a dying girl who has tuberculosis and occupies one of the houses he breaks into. Lake is saved from the insane Irish gangster Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe) and his henchmen by Athansor, a mysterious white horse who becomes his guardian angel.
The actual full theatrical trailer also provides a bit more clarity. Don’t watch if you want to remain completely in the dark, although the trailer still doesn’t give everything away.
Here’s the Trailer
So, Colin Farrell has a meet-cute with a girl when he tries to rob her, they fall in love, your standard old man character gives him the “you realize she’s dying, right?” speech, Russell Crowe is around as a non-singing version of Javert from Les Miserables, and a white horse shows up for some reason. Bada bing, bada boom, we jump to present day where Jennifer Connelly is cool with her daughter running into a gorgeous, amnesiac homeless man because did I mention the gorgeous part? They do some investigating, Farrell starts regaining his memory, and we have to figure out whether or not he’s even human anymore along with what ever became of that dying girlfriend of his from back in the day.
You know – your standard romantic drama. I hope your sensing my sarcasm because I just laid it on pretty thick.
There is an unabashed romance and mystery to the trailer which certainly intrigues or simply nauseates depending on your individual constitution. I am personally slightly thrown off by a film which will feature a one-time thieve who almost outright states that the one thing he most covets is to steal the heart of Manic Pixie Tuberculosis Girl. However, I also can’t quite completely dismiss the film because it’s timey-wimey, “miracles can happen” plot makes it more difficult to place into a nice little box. Plus, part of me is crying out not to be so cynical and just embrace Winter’s Tale, which will be the second notable timey-wimey romance in the past year after Richard Curtis’ About Time.
Winter’s Tale began its life as a 1983 novel by Mark Helprin, and if Wikpedia is anything to go off of they may have greatly simplified the story for the film. Akiva Goldsman, er, excuse me, “Academy Award Winner” Akiva Goldsman adapted the novel for the screenplay and makes his directorial debut. As a screenwriter, he started out adapting John Grisham novels (The Client, Time to Kill), transitioned to being one of multiple writers to help Joel Schumacher temporarily ruin Batman (Batman Forever, Batman & Robin), and reclaimed respect by becoming Ron Howard’s go-to screenwriter (A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man, Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons). He was also one of the writers behind the Batman Vs. Superman screenplay Warner Bros. almost produced back in 2002. More recently, Goldsman served as writer, director, producer for the first 4 seasons of Fringe. He’s also just been hired to clean up the script for Insurgent, the sequel to YA adaptation Divergent.
Winter’s Tale is due to open wide in the US on February 14, 2014. It will be going up against two other romantic films (About Last Night, Endless Love) receiving wide releases. The manly men who don’t go in for all that “romance junk” will have Robocop to comfort them, or more likely shoot them in the face for failing to wear their seatbelt, if recent satirical Robocop TV ads are any indication.
What do you think? Are you mystified or horrified by Winter’s Tale? Let us know in the comments.