“Winter’s Tale” is a mess of a movie that’s a historical romance, a time-traveling tale, a battle between good and evil that features demons, Satan and a magical horse … and you’ll sit there saying “Huh?” a lot.
Colin Farrell stars as Peter Lake, a young thief who arrives in America as a baby in 1895 under unusual circumstances. In 1916, he falls in love with Beverly Penn (Jessica Brown Findlay, “Downton Abbey”), who’s beautiful, rich and about to die of “consumption” (aka tuberculosis). Peter is trying to escape the clutches of his bad-guy foster father, Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe), who wants to kill him. How bad is Pearly? He works for Satan (Will Smith).
Eventually, several of these characters end up in 2014, when all of this is supposed to tie together. But director Akiva Goldsman’s screenplay (adapted from Mark Helprin’s novel) requires that you suspend every ounce of disbelief — and even then there are ridiculous plot holes that are impossible to get past in this botched film.
“Winter’s Tale” is gorgeous to look at, and the Peter-Beverly romance works. But, alas, it isn’t the main focus of “Winter’s Tale.”
And what’s supposed to be some sort of statement about love and humanity gets lost in the lunacy. This movie is supposed to be about miracles, apparently, but it will be a miracle if you don’t laugh out loud or gasp in shock at what a mess it is.
Opens today at theaters everywhere; rated PG-13 for some sexual content and violence; 118 minutes.