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Winter’s Tale

Winter’s Tale

I shudder to think what Valentine’s date night will be like
for couples who choose to see Winter’s
Tale
.

First, they will be asked to stretch credulity past the
breaking point for the sake of a fantasy premise. Then they’ll have to figure out
how Colin Farrell, who was born in 1895, is still alive in 2014. Acceptance of bad-guy
Russell Crowe’s Irish accent and facial scar will be easy by comparison, though
when the truth about his character is revealed it will be one more obstacle for
anyone attempting to swallow this indigestible stew. Whimsy should never be as
heavy-handed as this.

Jessica Brown-Findlay, late of Downton Abbey, is a winsome heroine in the 1916 portion of the
story, and it’s nice to see Eva Marie Saint in a lovely cameo set in the
present day. Other players (William Hurt, Graham Greene, Kevin Corrigan) come
and go, while Jennifer Connelly shows up at the eleventh hour to introduce a
last-minute story twist. There is also a surprise cameo by a famous actor that
I won’t give away; if he’s lucky, few people will see this spectacularly odd
performance.

Winter’s Tale tests
our patience by introducing an endless parade of half-baked ideas involving
angels and demons, love and fate. The actors do their best, given a tedious
script by first-time director Akiva Goldsman (who called on Crowe and Connelly,
the costars of his Oscar-winner A
Beautiful Mind
, to participate in this project). The source novel by Mark
Helprin runs 800 pages, but since it has a good reputation I must suppose the
author provides more substance—and rewards for the reader—than this adaptation
can muster.

To be clear, I enjoy a good fantasy and have a high
tolerance for sentimentality in movies. This one just doesn’t have what it
takes.

The only winter’s tale worth seeing right now is Frozen.

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