Winter's Tale movie poster

Winter's Tale

In theaters February 14, 2014

Is the film industry running out of original ideas or are there just stories that are worth retelling with an updated/refreshed look? Winter’s Tale is the only new movie releasing this week that ISN’T an 80’s movie remake believe it or not. The “gotcha” here is that it’s based off of a 1983 novel by Mark Helprin. Along with remakes we’ve seen an influx of movies lately inspired by video games, television shows and of course novels. This one falls right in line with the current trend. Winter’s Tale is rated PG-13 for violence and some sensuality. Is it worth seeing or are your time and dollars better spent elsewhere?

Colin Farrell stars as Peter Lake who is a thief with somewhat of a conscience. Winter’s Tale pretty much starts off (after a brief foreshadowing flash forward) in 1916 with Peter being pursued by a small gang of guys in black jackets and bolo hats. Their leader is Pearly Soames played by Russell Crowe. You figure out very early on that this movie is not your straightforward drama mystery and that it relies heavily on the fantasy angle. The beginning scenes are vague and you quickly come to realize that there’s more going than what is seen on the surface. The story continues on with intrigue, love, mystery and adventure. Rounding out the cast of known actors are Jessica Brown Findlay, William Hurt, Jennifer Connelly and Will Smith. Yes, THAT Will Smith! Apparently making a movie like After Earth will get you relegated to cameo appearances (also see Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues) until things blow over.

The transition from novel to movie doesn’t really come together unfortunately. There are a few plot gaps that cause confusion because you feel like you’re missing an important piece of the puzzle. Some ideas work better as words on paper because the imagination can be more enjoyable and convincing than reality. The reality here is that Winter’s Tale doesn’t do enough to allow it to succeed. The acting overall is okay however there are times that it’s downright hokey. Some will look at this as a potential love story and end up being disappointed because it is not. If you go into it with an open mind you might be entertained but I don’t see it as a highly recommendable movie. Wait to see it in the comfort of your home or at a discounted afternoon matinee.

Winter's Tale is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Carl Wheeler


  1. I went to the advance screening of \Winter’s Tale\ last week. This movie really surprised me, in a good way. I went in with little to no expectations assuming that it was just another romance drama. Instead of focusing on the entire plot line around the love that brought the two main characters together, it branched out with exciting adventures, unexpected turns, and a deep meaning of what kindness and resilience can bring to your life. A decent date night movie for sure 🙂

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