Winter's Tale

A kick in the ass to Valentine's Day and the very notion of a satisfying Somewhere In Time kind of romantic wallow at the movies. What happens to Mark Helprin's 1983 bestseller at the hands of Hollywood is a crying shame. In his feature directing debut, Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind), creates a beautiful mess, an embarrassment of epic proportions. On deck is a supernatural love story that spans a century and even death, Colin Farrell—sporting the epitome of a bad haircut stars as Peter Lake. He's the son of immigrant parents who use a makeshift basket to send him ashore like an infant Moses at Ellis Island in 1895. By 1916, Peter is a thief, running from gangland boss Pearly Soames (a scowling Russell Crowe shouting in an indecipherable Irish brogue) with the help of a flying white horse. Hand to God, I'm not making this up. Pearly's scarred face morphs into demon shape when he's really pissed, which is often. His tantrums prompt a visit to the underground lair of Lucifer (Will Smith, following After Earth with another howling fiasco). But Lucifer won't interfere with Pearly's hunt for Peter who has now fallen hard for Beverly Penn, the dying daughter of a publishing tycoon (William Hurt). Findlay, the late Lady Sybil of Downton Abbey (let's hope she didn't leave that classic series for this!), has a breathtaking beauty that helps you suspend disbelief. But, sorry, not to this extent. Peter and Beverly's night of sexual union – her first and last – ends with an ageless Peter being swept into present-day New York where fate has him intervene in the life of a journalist (Jennifer Connolly) and her dying daughter. And then Eva Marie Saint, 89, shows up playing a figure from the past. And a star twinkles in the sky (could it be Beverly?). We're told in voiceover that everything is part of a grand pattern that we may one day understand. I'm calling bullshit. Winter's Tale is preposterous twaddle. Use it as a date movie only if you don't love the one you're with.

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