Muddled fantasy love story

Winter’s Tale Warner Bros. Rating: PG 129 minutes

Winter’s Tale was adapted by writer/director Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) from the novel of the same name. But he’s made a movie (his first as director) that no one is happy with. People familiar with the popular novel say he’s ruined a great story, and those of us who haven’t read the book don’t understand what’s going on some of the time.

Colin Farrell plays a 1916 New York burglar who meets the lovely Jessica Brown Findlay while robbing a house and they fall in love. Presumably this is why the movie was released on Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, she’s dying of consumption (although, as usual in Hollywood movies of this ilk, she looks surprisingly robust and attractive).

Meanwhile Farrell’s character is being chased by a nasty gangster (Russell Crowe). However, whenever Crowe’s gang closes in Farrell is rescued by a magical white horse that can fly. There’s also a closing section of the movie set in 2014 in New York, with a still young Farrell trying to save the life of a young girl, and even interacting with a character from 1916.

It is a confusing muddle of romance, fantasy and time travel of some sort, but the movie is not without charm. Farrell and Findlay’s short but powerful affair works and there’s nice support from charming child actors and Jennifer Connelly. And fans of old movies will enjoying seeing Eva Marie Saint, aged 89, in a small supporting role. But as a movie, it doesn’t work.

Rating: two deer out of five

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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.