‘Winter’s Tale’ is a Waste of Time

“Winter’s Tale” is a film adaptation of the novel by Mark Helprin. It portrays the love of a man and woman, which transcends time. I have not read the novel myself, but from the movie I could tell that the book was well constructed. Yet the film did not do justice to the novel.

Courtesy of Roadshow Pictures

Courtesy of Roadshow Pictures

The film takes place in two main time periods: 1916 New York and 2014 New York. The lovers are Peter Lake (Colin Farrell) and Beverly Penn (Jessica Brown Findlay). Beverly is terminally ill and Peter believes his destiny is to save her.

Let me first say that the technical elements of the movie were executed beautifully. The use of light was particularly exquisite and conveyed themes of destiny, the possibility of miracles, the consistent struggle of good and evil, and the lives that unify all individuals. Despite the quality of the technical elements, however, the movie overall was an abysmal disaster.

The book’s plot line did not translate to the screen well. Many key plot points were overlooked and then glossed over in conversation. The dialogue seemed forced at many points in the movie and the film overall did not take time to explain some key plot points. If you do not pay attention during the glossy forced dialogue, you will have to play catch-up for half the movie. The film also introduces some plot elements only to abandon them later and never address them again. Other plot points should have been expressed visually rather than verbally. The visuals are truly the best part of this movie, but the filmmakers held back in using them to tell the story.

The film does not take the time to allow for the characters to develop into compelling, multi-faceted human beings; therefore they remain static and unbelievable. There are several fantasy elements that characterize the plot and are not properly explained, which create a lack of plausibility in the story as well.

The performances in the film were a mixed bag. Colin Farrell and Jessica Brown Findlay did an excellent and compelling job in the leading roles. Russell Crowe, however, played a static, un-compelling villain who falls flat and fails to capture the imagination of the film’s viewers. The worst aspect of the film’s casting was Will Smith as Lucifer. Every scene of his performance was depressingly awful. His costume was a Jimi Hendrix shirt and jeans, which were out of place in the scenes that took place in 1916.

I would suggest this movie if you are willing to pay close attention and not be bothered by the gaping plot holes. Though its visual aesthetics are astute, they do not make up for the underdeveloped script and lack of characterization. When “Winter’s Tale” eventually hits Netflix, it will make a lovely way to completely waste an afternoon.


NOT RECOMMENDED: The visual elements of the film don’t compensate for the lack of plot and characters.