Winter Wonderland

Winter's Tale

Nothing happens that isn’t supposed to”, observes a major character in “Winter’s Tale”, Akiva Goldsman’s adaptation of the Mark Helprin time travel fantasy/fairytale  (which i am now in the process of reading).  And it just so happens to be true, because apparently, I was supposed to fall deeply in-love with this movie, which is a little like falling in-love with a person – you know, you stumble upon it, you’re not really sure what it’s all about or what to expect, but the more you get to know it, the more you love it, and by the time it’s over, you’re sad and wanting more because it made you feel all warm and fuzzy and magical.  And boy did it ever sweep me off my feet.  In the film, turn-of-the-century New York thief/angel, Peter Lake (Colin Farrell, pitch-perfect with his dark, delicious eyes and rakishly handsome face) escapes life in a gang led by the very sinister and literally demonic Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe, sporting a shaved head, bowler hat, and scarred face, which isn’t nearly as frightening as his attempt at a Scottish accent).  Aided in his escape by the mysterious appearance of a winged white horse, Peter embarks upon one final robbery at the city home of renowned newspaper mogul, Isaac Penn (a reliably stoic William Hurt).  Penn’s dying daughter, Beverly (Downton Abbey’s sublime Jessica Brown Findlay), catches Peter in the act and, rather than turning him in, makes him a spot of tea.  Predictably, the two fall into an ill-fated love affair, but what happens after is perhaps a bit more unpredictable in the sense that it is not just another sap-laden romance.  In short, it is a beautifully fantastical story of miracles, hope and the beauty of life, complete with a time-travel twist and appearances by Jennifer Connelly, Eva Marie Saint (still remarkably fabulous at 90) and even Will Smith as Lucifer (which is not nearly as ludicrous as it sounds). Infused with strong performances (Crowe’s accent notwithstanding), vintage grace, sparkling snow, and a little bit of magic, it’s a tale definitely worth conjuring up on a winter’s eve…along with a pot of tea.

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