Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Directed by: Akiva Goldsman
Starring: Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe
“Magic is everywhere around us. You just have to look.”
Whilst certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, this drama-fantasy film offers a rare, dazzling story dashed with sparks of romance and good, old-fashioned charm and wit. From its magical opening lines to a bittersweet, if not slightly over-clichéd, ending, A New York Winter’s Tale is a breath of fresh, fantastical air that I would definitely recommend to anyone in search of a heartfelt journey to destiny.
As a recent fan of Mark Helprin’s 1985 poetically styled novel, Winter’s Tale, you can imagine my delighted surprise when the film adaption was announced for this year’s inspiring line-up. With the charming Jessica Brown Findlay (Downtown Abbey and Labrynth) and equally dashing, Colin Farrell (In Bruges and The Recruit) playing the romantic leads, I anticipated its release with eagerness…
…So, when major critics and bitter reviews came pooling out, you can also imagine my disappointment. However, I promptly decided against pre-judgement and leapt at the chance to see the, apparently, lacklustre and dull adaption of one of my favourite novels. And I am, now, incredibly glad I chose to do so, as A New York Winter’s Tale, after an awful whip-load of negative hype, pleasantly surprised me.
Spanning all the way from 1914 to 2014, in a magically interwoven backdrop of a fantasy New York, Winter’s Tale tells the story of a charming thief, Peter Lake (Farrell), and the destiny set out before him. One night, desperately on the run from his dangerous ex-boss, Pearly (Russell Crowe), Peter unexpectedly meets a stunning and intriguing young woman, Beverly Penn (Jessica Brown Findlay). Their love story almost comes to a tragic close before it takes flight, as Peter learns of Beverly’s fatal diagnosis of consumption. With an element of magic – from winged horses as guardian angels, to hidden destines – Peter is swept on a path to the unknown where all are connected and where, perhaps, love can be the greatest miracle of all.
As a reviewer and a film lover, I thoughroughly enjoyed Winter’s Tale. Colin Farrell and Jessica Brown Findlay are a delightful duo as the hopeful romantics, Peter and Beverly, and both actors brought their characters to life with a natural, sweet flourish. Russell Crowe hit the nail on the head with a wickedly dark and villainous Pearly, and the juxtaposition between good vs evil was a lovely old-fashioned, fairy tale-style narrative.
Credit must also be given to the film’s cinematographer, Caleb Deschanel (My Sister’s Keeper), for his graceful style, which created a chilling atmosphere straight from a childhood storybook. With Akiva Goldsman in the director’s chair, the technical team behind Winter’s Tale never failed to produce a wondrous feeling as I watched the film – from grand wide shots, to a sparklingly beautiful score by the acclaimed Hans Zimmer, the technical team ought to be extremely proud of their work.
Admittedly, there are flaws. Of course, this is the 21st century of technological celebration and opinionated individuals, and there are always going to be clichés or less interesting characters. If you can look past the suddenly flying white horse and the occasional cheese moment, then an adventure awaits you!