By: Almond Black (A Toast) –
Magic is real. I know that in today’s world, where anarchy and socialism are spoonfed to our children in movies like The Lego Movie and The Muppets and torture porn from cinematic garbage men like Steve McQueen goes on to win Oscars, it’s easy to be cynical. However, I tell you, Magic is real. And its name is Winter’s Tale.
Winter’s Tale is the delightful story of a young thief (Colin Farrell) who sexes a terminally ill socialite (Jessica Brown-Findlay) to death (in under three seconds!) and then lives another 100 years so that he can give his miracle to another terminally ill child, but an Australo-Irish-Swede- Jamaican demon (Russell Crowe) tries to fistfight him (also to death) even though the devil (DJ Jazzy Jeff) told him not to. Also there’s a horse (dog?) with rainbow wings that’s kind of a cowardly dick.
With me so far?
Akiva Goldsman has been perhaps THE key voice in American film over the last 20-odd years. From rigorous historical drama (The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons) to lighthearted deconstructions of the American mythos (Batman Forever, Batman and Robin, Lost in Space) to fantastical romance and comedy (Practical Magic), no writer has done as much in the realm of cinema as him (I can’t wait to see what he does with Stephen King’s Dark Tower series!)
With Winter’s Tale, he steps into the director’s chair, and at last we get to see his entire vision for a film on screen. And wow, what a vision! I would even go so far as calling it a true religion (the true religion? You decide). He teaches us that everyone has one miracle, and when we use it magic can happen, like people living for centuries or terminal diseases being cured. No need to fear death if we believe hard enough! The universe bends over backwards for each and all of us you see, if only we were to believe.
Some of us just need to believe harder!
This message is beautifully relayed through a timeless romance between the thief and the socialite from the synopsis. All you need to know about the verve and the vitality of Farrell’s acting is contained in his choice of hairstyle. Strong, cheeky, clever, heart-touching, the hair says it all.
Locks the great Jonathan Taylor Thomas could have loved.
Findlay-Brown does an even better acting job as a terminally ill woman who steadfastly refuses to show any symptoms or pain whatsoever, even at her death. She’s living proof of a Jehovah’s Witnesses creed- doctors and medicine are only for the weak of mind. Also, Crowe makes the brave decision in today’s multi-cultural landscape to use a colorful patois of different accents instead of sticking to just one. Perhaps one day we will all speak in his egalitarian manner.
I also was pleased to see that national treasure Eva Marie-Saint, perfectly cast for her true age of 125, still has the spring in her step and youthful visage of a woman half her age. And what can one say about DJ Jazzy Jeff that hasn’t been said already? He’s eminently believable as Satan himself, a role that he may have been preparing for throughout his whole career.
Behold, Shaitan walks among us.
However, in last year’s excellent After Earth, he also showed some serious philosophical pondering of his own. If we are lucky perhaps he and Goldsman will collaborate on their next filmic thesis.
I know how Akiva Goldsman used his miracle. He made me believe in film again. Winter’s Tale is not only a beautiful love story and soaring tale of adventure and magic. It’s a philosophy for living, a religion we can all believe in. It’s life itself. It’s magic.