The first thing I have to say about Winter’s Tale is that it is so visually stunning that it’s as if the movie inhales the viewer to a point somewhere between watching from outside and inside the screen. The colors that linger in my mind are blue and white and gray…and red of course. Even the white and gray are vivid still, with the bluey white of winter almost pulsating.

The whole thing pulsates. With life and death, good and evil, love and fear…and magic. Horse by himself is such a thing of beauty. And then magic transforms him into something even beyond mere beauty to mesmerizing glory.

I was looking around online and saw its setting called a mythic New York and that pegs it. It’s pretty much my favorite era…the line between the Victorian and Edwardian, but only almost. It’s a not quite as it was reality of its own. I like the leeway that gives filmmakers to transform what we think we know into something a bit other. Otherworldly and just unfamiliar enough to intrigue. Oddly, such a delicious little thrill of a mental gasp, when this “to the country” Beverly’s family is so excited to travel to turns out to be Queens.

Beverly was played so beautifully by Jessica Brown Findlay. I already liked her as the tragic Sybil from Downton Abbey, and Winter’s Tale really revealed more and different layers of her talent. I loved the scene where she’s running through the house to plunge into her cooling pool. Sometimes a simple seeming visual can be positively poetic as it unspools.

I’ve never been much of a Colin Farrell fan. Until now. He was pitch perfect as the con man who steals Beverly’s heart and weaves his thread of magic and battling good and evil throughout. Russell Crowd was excellent, though his character was so evil he wasn’t exactly likeable. A hallmark of fine talent.

I was looking online because it wasn’t until the end credits that I realized it was based on Mark Helprin’s novel of the same title. I read and loved it a long time ago, but literally don’t remember a thing except the title and author…and a little icy imagery. In hindsight so many details seemed vaguely familiar that it’s unreal that I didn’t put it together on my own. Information I found online talked about how it’s just one thread from the many in the 700+ page novel and not exactly like the book, so I guess I was so caught up in it that I didn’t go split brained to figure it out.

So beautifully acted. So dreamy, romantic, and time stopping. I already want to watch it again. That’s one of the highest compliments I can give a movie. I don’t usually give movies stars, and that’s just as well. Winter’s Tale lives under its own canopy of stars that look like ours, but are reachable with the magic that lies at its blue and white and gray pulsating heart.

Winter’s Tale Trailer