Winter's Tale: The best tale this winter

Gary Wolcott, atomictown.comFebruary 14, 2014 

Film Review Winter's Tale

This image released by Warner Bros. shows Jessica Brown Findlay, right, and Colin Farrell in a scene from "Winter's Tale." (AP Photo/Warner Bros., David C. Lee)

DAVID C. LEE — AP

Winter's Tale is a complicated story. The film starts in the late 1800s and ends in 2014. Colin Farrell -- with the worst haircut in movie history -- is Peter Lake. Raised an orphan, Peter is an exceptional burglar with uncanny mechanical aptitude. When he burgles the home of a wealthy family, Peter encounters Beverly Penn. Beverly is dying of consumption. She's played by Downton Abbey's Jessica Brown Findley, and she's electrifying.

It's love at first sight for both.

Peter is chased through time by Pearly Soames (played by Russell Crowe). He's a demon who raised Peter to take over the "business." Wires got crossed and Pearly now wants to kill Peter and gets to him through Beverly, who is as light as Soames is dark. She understands the universe and the purpose of life and how we -- when our light shines -- become stars when we die.

Like I said. Complicated.

Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (The Da Vinci Code) gives the director's chair a first shot and takes novelist Mark Helprin's new-agey, quasi-religious, time-travel, eternity-defining novel and turns it into a slow but beautifully done love story. Some will find getting to the meat of the subject a bit long, there are plot holes that are never explained and, at times, the new age mumbo jumbo is a bit much. However, once it settles into a groove, Winter's Tale is this winter's best tale.

Part of why I enjoyed Winter's Tale might be that it screened the same night and time as the redos of the awful 1986 Rob Lowe, Demi Moore rom-com, About Last Night and the even more dreadful Brooke Shield's 1981 star vehicle, Endless Love.

I just couldn't force myself to do either so Winter's Tale became the only choice and -- it turns out -- not a bad one.

-- Is Mr. Movie's take on these films brilliant? He thinks so. What do you think? Let him know at www.tri-cityherald.com/arts/mrmovie.

Director: Akiva Goldsman

Stars: Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findley, Russell Crowe, Will Smith, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, Graham Green, Eva Marie Saint

Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars

Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It's playing at Regal's Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.

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