For those critics and audience members who thought "Winter’s Tale" was too weird and unrealistic, one need only look to "Field of Dreams." That film is a non-sensical fantasy that somehow managed to touch the hearts of people around the globe. As Kevin Costner recently said, "it’s a movie you feel." This is how you should watch "Winter’s Tale." It is a movie about the heart. It creates a world where literally anything is possible -- where good fights evil, where miracles happen and where the world is made up of destinies that need to be fulfilled. There is magic, flying horses, the devil, angels, demons, and a man who lives for over a hundred years without aging. If you have a problem with that, then this isn’t the film for you. But then again, the title should inform you of what you will be seeing. It’s a "tale." It’s not supposed to be a true story (as the trailer lets you know), it’s a beautiful film unlike anything you’ve ever seen. If you let it touch your heart and you go with it, you will find all sorts of pleasures there. If you pick it apart and roll your eyes at its earnestness, you will hate it.
I’m not sure why it was so lambasted by critics, because first time director Akiva Goldsman (who has written a plethora of screenplays) makes a gorgeous looking film that utilizes his favorite actors including Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly (both in the film version of his script of "A Beautiful Mind.") But it is the chemistry of Colin Farrell and Jessica Brown Findlay as the doomed lovers that is so beautiful. Their relationship is the best thing about the film.
For me, it still stands as my favorite film of the year. (I’ve seen it three times.) But sure, it won’t be for everyone especially in a cynical time. I do think that it will slowly find a following as people begin to discover it and will eventually be a word of mouth favorite among romantics and those that want to immerse themselves in a wish-fulfillment adult fairy tale.
Special features are slim with two short featurettes on the making of the film and the Good vs Evil element. There are also 12 minutes of deleted scenes, most of which don’t really add much, although there is some more of Jennifer Connelly’s character for those that wanted to see her story fleshed out.
But it’s really all about the movie. If you want something fresh and romantic that has optimism and hope at its core, seek this gem out.
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