Set completely in a time space of New York winters, A Winter's Tale depicts the attraction between an orphan thief who lives above Grand Central Station, Peter Lake (Colin Farrel) and a young heiress with an affliction. Their chance meeting occurs when Peter attempts to break into Beverly Penn's (Jessica Brown Findlay) home. The film encompasses ongoing themes of miracles, of light and darkness and of angels and demons.
Winter's Tale is also a film widely advertised to be one that operates in two time frames: one of the early 1900s and the second of modern 21st century. I find that films which progress from earlier eras to modern times often lose some of their magic. The fantasy premise of the film seemed more believable in a foreign time era and was made to look somewhat ridiculous and implausible in the modern light. If done well and blended to retain some of its mysterious grandeur, such period films can and do succeed. But Winter's Tale's attempt is petty and it seems no effort was made to appropriate the supernatural elements to the time setting.
As my #1 most anticipated film of the year, I hoped that it would provide some worthy excuse to marvel and praise the simple beauties of the film. There are moments that could have saved the film but they were short and stood on wobbly foundations of an unjustified premise. Jessica Brown Findlay's appearance in the film is one of its redeeming features.
Charming and subtle, she illuminates the screen, as she did with her electric performance in the drama flick Albatross and her familiar loveable characterisation of Lady Sybil Crawley in Downton Abbey. Colin Farrel, of course, carried the same easy charm as he did with his performance as the title character of the much favourable Saving Mr Banks.
If I were to describe Winter's Tale in two words - it would be "abandoned potential". The director had an incredible story on his hands, but too many shortcuts in the form of borrowed sickly sentiment and a poor screenplay, made a legendary novel seem a far-fetched concept.