Directed by: Akiva Goldsman
From what the trailer of this film presents to us, this is a fairy tale-like story that spans 100 years, following the (apparently) undying love of a young couple across 100 years. The “cover” story goes like this…In 1886, a married immigrant couple (Matt Bomer and Lucy Griffiths) are refused entry into Manhattan. When their infant son is also refused to enter, the couple (perhaps bizarrely) determines the he should have the good life in America, and places him in a model sailboat named City of Justice, then sets him adrift as they leave the harbor, hoping against hope that he will float to safety. When next we see the lad, it is 1916, and he has grown up to be a petty thief named Peter Lake (Farrell).
Lake is in the middle of some unnamed beef with his mentor, a darkling character named Pearly Soames (Crowe), who apparently rules the underworld of New York and it’s five Burroughs (we never really understand what the issue is, just that there is one). Well, Lake is going to make one more score and leave the city by attempting to rob a fortress-like mansion on the Upper West Side, but becomes completely ensorcelled by the beauty of a young lady whose house he has broken into to rob. As it turns out the young woman, Beverly Penn (Findlay) is dying of consumption, but that matters not to either Lake or Penn, as they both are totally taken with each other.
Lake finally makes his choice and rescues Penn from the clutches of Soames, who has come after her to get to Lake. The couple ride off to the Penn’s upstate estate where, well, the rest of the story takes a most definite turn for the very mystical. You see, the thing about this flick is that it really isn’t simply a “mystical” love story told across 100 years, it is really something deeper, darker, and well, far more interesting. As it turns out, Soames is not just a nasty, no good, bad guy, he is a truly evil daemonic creature in human form who answers to a higher (lower?) lord (played by a heretofore uncredited “A”-list star) which is what truly makes this film a very interesting movie to watch unfold.
Needless to say, Winter’s Tale (based on the eponymous book by Mark Helprin) is a story of miracles, crossed destinies, intriguing mythology, true love, and the age-old battle between ultimate good and absolute evil. Not really what we expected going into the film, but truthfully, more than we could have possibly expected, making it a truly wonderful film that demands to be watched.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.