Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Winter’s Tale

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence and some sensuality
Profanity:Brief strong language
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references and one situation
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking
Violence/Scariness:Supernatural and crime-style violence, some disturbing images
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters
Movie Release Date:February 14, 2014

Winters-Tale-Movie“Winter’s Tale,” based on the acclaimed novel by Mark Helprin is deeply romantic but also pretty daffy. There are exquisite images and some grand themes but also some clangers, some murky mishmash in the set-up, poorly designed special effects, and one badly botched miscasting that throws everything out of whack.

The exquisite images are not hard to come by with Colin Farrell along with “Downton Abbey’s” Lady Sybil, Jessica Brown Findley with auburn hair that makes her look like a pre-Raphealite dream, and a white horse who looks like he should be pulling Cinderella’s coach.  The setting feels like a fairy tale, too, first turn of the 20th century Manhattan and then a fabulous snow-covered mansion out in the New York countryside.

Farrell plays Peter Lake, left behind as a baby in America when his immigrant parents were rejected for health reasons and sent back to Ireland.  They put him in a model boat with the nameplate “City of Justice” and set him off toward the shore.  When we meet him, he is a thief, formerly allied with a brutal, scar-faced crime boss named Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe).  Everyone has very literary names in this story except for the horse, who is called Athansor in the book but here is just known as Horse even though, according to one character, he is really a dog.

Now Soames is determined to kill Lake.  Rescued once by a mysterious white horse, Lake knows he has to get out of town.  He goes on one last expedition to steal enough to pay for his journey.  When he is ready to leave just before dawn, the horse refuses to budge.  Lake sees the family leaving a luxurious townhouse and decides to see what he can take.  He has an intuitive skill with mechanics and easily breaks into the safe.

But one member of the family has stayed behind.  Her name is Beverly Penn (Findley) and she is dying of consumption (the 19th century term for tuberculosis).  She has to be surrounded by cold all the time, and the family has gone to the country house ahead of her to prepare a tent for her to sleep in.  Lake steals nothing but her heart, and loses his own in return.  Because she knows she is dying, smaller problems like his being a thief do not really bother her.  “What’s the best thing you’ve ever stolen?” she asks him.  “I’m beginning to think I haven’t stolen it yet.”  Instantly, he knows that his purpose in life is to protect her.

So far, so good, but then the argle bargle about transcending time and everything being connected starts up and it feels like the rules change at random.  Or, at least, that a nearly-800 page book lost big chunks in the translation to the screen by writer-director Akiva Goldsman.  This relationship between Lake and Penn seems to have some grander purpose, which is why Soames is so determined that he must stop it.  He seeks permission from “The Judge,” played by Will Smith.  It’s not entirely Smith’s fault that it is at this point things start to completely fall apart.  The role is poorly conceived and written and he is catastrophically miscast.  Lake ends up getting somehow catapulted into the present day but without his memories.  As he tries to piece things together, the pieces of the movie come apart.  There are way too many fortune cookie-style pronouncements about eternal battles between good and evil, miracles, destiny, and how we are all connected themselves, even a few from the underused Graham Greene who appears briefly just to throw out some deep thoughts about how God, the devil, angels and demons are just “the newer names” for the forces he describes. Penn says, that “the sicker I become, the more clearly I can see that everything is connected by light.”  But by the end, nothing in this movie feels connected to anything.

Parents should know that this film has sexual references and a situation, supernatural and crime violence, some disturbing images and scary surprises, sad death, and brief strong language.

Family discussion:  How are the rules for this world established and why are they important?  What could only Beverly understand as a result of her illness?  

If you like this, try: “Stardust,” “The Adjustment Bureau,” and “The Fountain”



Previous Posts

Contest Winner -- "Earth to Echo's" GoPro Camera
Thanks to all who entered!  This contest had far more entries than any other I've ever run.  Congratulations to the lucky winner! WINNER OF THE GOPRO CAMERA: Susan D. Burkburnett, TX  

posted 11:54:55pm Jul. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Intuition -- A Short Film from Danielle Lurie
I love this short film from Danielle Lurie about a young woman who needs to learn to listen to her heart, with a wonderful performance by Montse Muñoz. [vimeo]https://vimeo.com/101953117[/vimeo]

posted 10:09:01am Jul. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Joseph Nasser of "Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway"
Reserve Police Officer Joseph Nasser produced Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway to help raise awareness of the Amber Alert system. It stars Tom Berenger as a man on the edge, making a dead rush for Mexico and kidnapping two young girls along the way. He is hotly pursued by police chief Martha Geig

posted 8:00:33am Jul. 28, 2014 | read full post »

"Guardian of the Galaxy's" Awesome Mixtape
One of the many pleasures of "Guardians of the Galaxy," opening this week, is the soundtrack featuring some 70's classics from an "Awesome Mixtape" played by Peter "Star Lord" Quill (Chris Pratt).  Here are some of the highlights. "Hooked on a Feeling" by Blue Swede [youtube]http://www.youtub

posted 8:00:21am Jul. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Comic-Con 2014: Day 2
Day 2 of Comic-Con included: an interview with "Sharknado" and "Sharknado 2" screenwriter Thunder Levin, a buggy lunch with Boxtrolls, press events with the directors and casts of four films, and appearing on the Rotten Tomatoes panel, where each attendee was given a paddle with a ripe tomato on on

posted 10:04:47pm Jul. 26, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.