Parents' Guide to

Winter's Tale

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Disappointing book-based fantasy-drama has heavy themes.

Movie PG-13 2014 129 minutes
Winter's Tale Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 18+

The bottom line: this movie is about good vrs evil, magic, and the neat little coincidences that are woven through life.

I imagine it may be best to read the book first. Something I have not done. The movie is filled with what is, to me, neat little literary type quotes, like when Peter says: "Don't know who's more foolish; The horse who won't listen to his master or the master who listens to his horse. " Here are a few other samples: The banter, dialogue, between Peter and Beverly is gently witty. The story begins with an immigrant mother and father denied entry to the USA because of their health status. To save their baby they make the sacrifice to place him in a small boat that they hope will send him safely to the shores of New York and to a better life than that to which they must return. Very Moses-like. We see the infant as the adult Peter Lake, a common thief who is clever with anything mechanical. We learn that he has left his old mentor, a demon (named Pearly) bent on destroying him as a result, and struck out on his own. While breaking into the home of wealthy newspaper icon, Isaac Penn, Peter falls in love with Beverly Penn who is home alone at the time and, we learn, dying of consumption. Pearly, in cahoots with Lucifer himself, whom he calls "Lu," seeks to bring chaos and hopelessness into the world. On the other hand Peter seeks to save Beverly from certain death. In the end, it is another redhead he saves - a hundred years later - and you come to understand why they say hindsight is 20/20 because "all the little pieces" come together in the end. A lovely story, well acted and directed. Though not appropriate for kids 17 and under because of: language, violence (Hunger Games and Harry Potter I think have similar levels of violence), intensity of evil, while no significant nudity is shown.... Peter and Beverly clearly are seen in the act of making love, and younger kids just might not get the storyline. In the end the message is not only about good vrs evil but each human's significant role on earth during the life given them by God. It is about the human striving for purpose and hope. THE true answer is not really found in this story. But as far as movies go, it is a sweet story and I would recommend it --- to an adult.

This title has:

Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
age 14+
some violence a sexual content

This title has:

Great role models
Too much sex

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (6):

How to spell utter disappointment: W-I-N-T-E-R-S T-A-L-E. The disappointment is so great because the film is gifted with so many wonderful actors, best of all the enchanting Brown Findlay, who proved to be a fascinating character in the British mini-series in Downton Abbey. Though she does everything in her power to bring to life her rendition of the dying Beverly here -- a great counterpoint to Crowe, who's relying on the usual tropes (scarred face, growly voice, pickled accent) to portray the ultimate villain -- it cannot save the film.

The movie is gorgeous to watch, but a mess: timelines, heavy-handed voiceover, airy dialogue that doesn't give the audience much to hold onto. (Also, corny: the bad guys are dressed in black; the good in, yes, white.) Older teens and parents may enjoy the unabashedly romantic tale, but when it's drowned in metaphysical confusion -- Peter was born in the 1800s but shows up in modern-day New York City, looking exactly the same as he was, though he's no time traveler (and this is just one of many examples) -- they're bound to give up trying to understand midway. Authentic, believable acting (except for Crowe's, which borders on the hammy), can't save this tale from icing the audience out.

Movie Details

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