Winter’s Tale (2014)


“Give me a chance and I’ll make you melt all the snow in the world.”

Yep, it’s getting steamy in here…

Aah, the doldrums of the first quarter of the year. It’s the slot that no one wants, overshadowed by a flood of awards films and surprises like The Lego Movie, and a near-guarantee to be forgotten by the end of the year. Moviegoers dread the quality, studios dread the chance of incredibly dismal box office dollars, yet they keep making these over $50 million features that, more often that not, fail. The latest of these offerings that are shuffled out for Valentines Day is Winter’s Tale, an incredibly unnecessary, saccharine and downright awful adaptation by Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman of the 1983 novel of the same name.

The first problem that Winter’s Tale faces is the fact it’s confused about what to be in every aspect. It doesn’t know whether to be a romantic drama or fantasy, deciding to have the “best of both worlds” and be a period drama with random fantasy parts thrown in whenever it feels like it, clunkily jumping between these two genres.

Another source of confusion is exactly who it is aimed at. Most of these ‘plot devices’ are quite childlike in their innocence, including most of the fantasy scenes, but at the same time, it’s unsuitable for children due to some of the content.

All of this stems from the fact that, ultimately, Winter’s Tale is trying to be in the vein of Cloud Atlas, a lofty, ambitious fantasy film with a hint of romance and an ensemble cast showing how the human connection extends across time, and that actions refract into the future. Winter’s Tale is none of those things, in fact, any semblance of a plot or explanation is absent. Instead of seamlessly crossing between time periods, it spends the majority of its runtime in a weird qasi-dystopian and fantasy version of the 1900s where Russell Crowe plays a leprechaun gangster who, for a reason unknown to me, is hunting Colin Farrell (who has the worst haircut ever, I just wanted to cut all his hair off), likes to reach into random waiters heads and use their blood to draw on table cloths, and who’s face cracks at the drop of a hat; before a sudden and unwarranted leap into the present day to offer a useless, hasty, ’21st century’ connection (Jennifer Connelly looked as confused as the audience).

There is a severe absence of logic from the film as a whole, scenes where the dialogue is among some of the worst I’ve ever heard (the whole wine scene, the “everything is connected by light” AND THEN THEY SHOW IT, basically any scene from the whole film), a constant struggle to not scream with laughter or yell “WHAT. ARE. YOU. DOING?!”, “YOU WOULD BE AT LEAST 105” etc etc out of confusion of anger.

If I had to find a shred of heart in the embers of a fire in an otherwise blistering chill, the movie (this doesn’t deserve the title of ‘film’) looks beautiful when it isn’t home to some of the most awful CGI I’ve seen, the score is pretty, and there’s a cameo that will leave you in unintentional stitches of laughter.

While it iffers up entertainment in the moment just from how farcically atrocious it is (sexed to death. Literally. How does one explain that to her father?), Winter’s Tale is an incredibly bland, lifeless, and dull film that makes one think “why do people put money into movies like this, if studios know they’re going to fail?”.

Rating: 1/5


Winter’s Tale receives a wide release starting tomorrow (February 13). 

M (violence and sex scene), 118 mins.


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