Do you believe in miracles?
If so, Winter's Tale might change your mind.
Miracles, miracles, miracles. That's all anyone in this film's cuckoo version of New York City talks about. Every person possesses one miracle to use in his or her life. The stars are miracles. The horses are miracles. The sappy lens flares are even miracles.
Oh, but a couple willingly setting their baby in a toy ship and placing the ship into the ocean to float half a mile to Ellis Island? Just business as usual.
You want to know the real miracle? Their orphaned son still ended up with an Irish accent.
Yes, Peter Lake (Colin Farrell) is the modern-day Moses, if your modern day stretches from the 1890s all the way up to 2014. He stays roughly the same age the whole time, but I guess that's what happens when you spend 90 years scribbling chalk on a park sidewalk, because that's what he ends up doing at the film's one-hour mark.
How? I don't know, probably a miracle.
His first and only love, Beverly Penn (Downton Abbey's Jessica Brown Findlay), is dying of consumption, relegated to a tent on the roof of her family's lavish mansion so that she can stay cool at all times. Her body is remarkably well-preserved for someone on the verge of death, as is her spirit. Of course, Peter would have no other reason to fall in love with her, as the film gives them all of one scene before they're fated for eternal, tragic romance.
It would take a miracle of the highest order to properly convey this convoluted mythology. Peter has a miracle stored up, seemingly to save Beverly from dying an early death. His old business associate, a humanized demon named Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe) that hunts down and squashes all miracles. Crowe is mean-mugging hard here, combining the worst qualities of his tough-guy roles with poor impersonations of The Joker's facial tics. He's horrible, but by some miracle, his boss (whose surprisingly self-aware casting I won't reveal) isn't too bad.
The movie's tough to take seriously when an early scene goes like this: Peter runs from hired goons; Peter shanks a hired goon with a knife; a white horse appears out of thin air; Peter hops on the horse, which proceeds to hurdle over a 15-foot fence. That's not miraculous. That's just ridiculous.
Rated PG-13 for violence and some sensuality.
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