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Must suspend disbelief for ‘Winter’s Tale’

February 27, 2014
By Tony Rutherford (letters@graffitiwv.com) , Graffiti

This never-ending winter has dumped too much white stuff and ice on us. But moviegoers can't seem to get enough.

The season's animated musical megahit, "Frozen" sends us over the hill and through the blizzard, where a Snow Queen rules. "Winter's Tale" plunges us into the perennial snowscaped streets of New York through a hundred years. Like Disney's "Frozen," this tale will touch your heart through the same sentiment of Christopher Reeve's "Somewhere in Time."

Light, stars, destiny, hope and a red-haired woman bind the time continuum accompanied by fragile, light-classical melodic strings. A tragic love story surrounds the big picture struggle between good and evil, not by armies but one soul at a time.

You'll have to grant the filmmakers an ample amount of suspension of disbeliefe or anyone can carve deep landfills of plot holes.That's why the reference to the "Frozen" fairy tale, except guardian angels, demons, a flying Pegasus, and more serendipity than most Once-Upon-A-Times substitute for dwarfs and snow characters. To prevent a major spoiler, I'll refrain from mentioning a critical watery loose end that troubles me.

Opening in 1916, a ruggedly handsome Peter Lake (Colin Farrell) flees the hate of the nefarious Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe) and his gang of ruffians determined that he die a slow painful death. Saved from a beating by a white horse, Lake breaks into the Penn mansion by Central Park. Newspaper mogul Isaac Penn (William Hurt) has a lovely daughter named Beverly (Jessica Brown-Findlay) suffering from terminal consumption.

Instead of making off with the family jewels, Lake pauses to converse with the lonely Beverly, which turns quickly into one of those fabled love at first sight meetings. Rejuvenated by the caring lad, the young woman flourishes creating kinetic chemistry with her lover. Known for her role as "Lady Sybil" in "Downton Abbey," Brown-Findlay and Farrell's delicate bonding ignites passion and pathos that may remind you of a non-sarcastic "Love Story" (Ryan O'Neill, Ali McGraw) pairing.

Their brief relationship cements the film's exploration of believing and hoping in a world saddled by inequity and hate.

Will Smith enters as Lucifer in a gothic, underground cavern just a stone throw from the river Styx. His exchanges with Crowe border on solemn to ridiculous. No matter, the strong cast strongly welds the twists and helps patch dangling "huhs?" which range from a misplaced roll of microfilm to, well, how the ageless Farrell character maintains his youth.

Don't banish "Winter's Tale" from your list of big screen possibilities. Allow a helping of sentiment, symbolism, and relevance to warm your heart before the next deep freeze set into the state.

 
 

 

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