‘Winter’s Tale:’ Winter’s Fail*

It makes even less sense than you possibly thought it could. Winter’s Tale has everything: time travel, William Hurt, cancer, true love, the Devil, miracles, flying horses, demons, total disregard for a specific character’s logical life span, Matt Bomer, Javert from Les Misérables, wildly anachronistic outfits, and the uncle from Grounded for Life (Kevin Corrigan)…basically a perfect storm of problems. It’s hysterically bad and super entertaining and I am totally baffled that a product this ridiculous, which was worked on by a whole lot of people, was “approved” for wide (or any) theatrical release.

For my next trick, I will attempt to recount the plot of Winter’s Tale without bursting into laughter. Okay. Here goes…

Already failed.

Peter Lake (Colin Farrell) is an orphaned baby lowered into the ocean in a toy boat by his immigrant parents in 1895. He lands on the shores of Brooklyn, where he grows up to be a thief, under the guidance of one Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe), a real bad guy and a slightly supernatural being. When a mysterious white horse saves Peter from Pearly and his gang of New York in 1915, he decides to take the horse and skip town but gets tripped up by one last job. He tries to rob the townhouse of Isaac Penn (William Hurt’s inexplicable presence in this) but instead, gets charmed by and instantly falls in love with Penn’s daughter, Beverly (Jessica Brown Findlay). She’s an ethereal beauty consumed with consumption, that blanket term for “dying” in the olden days. Basically, she has a constant fever, and eventually it kills her…just as she and Peter consummate their love (no joke, no mincing words, she dies seconds after they have sex for the first time. SECONDS.).

Pearly and associates try to kidnap and kill Beverly because he’s like a demon and Peter betrayed him or something and he thinks if he kills her he steals Peter’s miracle? That’s all the explanation we’re given. But they don’t get to kill her because she dies, and then Pearly punches Peter a bunch and throws him over the Brooklyn bridge. Then, Peter crawls out of the Hudson River, alive and okay in the year 2014, with no memory of who he is, just the image of a red-haired girl looking at the moon in his head (Beverly had red hair). The Brooklyn bridge is the time portal here, much like in the classic Meg Ryan/Hugh Jackman chick flick, Kate and Leopold**.

Apparently, Beverly was actually Peter’s miracle (duh, right?), which means he could come back a hundred years later to fulfill his own miracle that also has to do with a red-haired girl. While trying to figure out who he is and also not get caught by bad guys (Pearly is still going strong in the modern world, banging chicks and taking names), Peter meets Virginia Gamely (Jennifer Connelly) and her daughter, Abby, a joyous bundle of life who happens to have cancer (and red hair). Virginia helps him figure out he’s a hundred year old dude, and once Peter notices Abby’s red hair, he convinces Virginia he knows how to save her.

It’s ludicrous in all the most laughable ways. I was going to say there are more aspects of the story that don’t make sense than there are aspects that do, but going over it in my head, none of it at all follows any sort of reason or logic. I get that it’s a fantasy story; I’m not faulting it for being one. But fantasy, in order to be successful, needs to stem from at least one branch of rationality, whether it be the amount of time it takes people to fall in love (usually more than one minute) or a good reason for the Devil to wear a weird outfit (he shows up in the year 1915 in a Jimi Hendrix t-shirt and a blazer) or the realistic life span of an entirely mortal human being (Beverly’s kid sister, Willa, 7 or 8 years old in 1915, appears in 2014 as an old lady, yes, but not a HUNDRED AND SEVEN YEAR OLD LADY). In short, Winter’s Tale is a phenomenally ridiculous movie, albeit definitely one for your “so bad it’s good” shelf.

Grade: D

*Title courtesy of my good friend and movie-mate, Chloe, who was slightly intoxicated for our viewing of Winter’s Tale, thus making it all the more hilarious.

**Expert reference here noted by my other good friend and movie-mate, Cara, who was also slightly intoxicated for our viewing and thus, keenly tapped in to all the 90’s*** romantic time-traveling New York movies that ever did exist.

***Upon further research, Kate and Leopold came out in 2001, the same year we invented the Air-Powered Pogo Stick and the Infrared Massage Chair. What is wrong with us?

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