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6 Ridiculous Things That Happen in Winter’s Tale

If you were hoping to take your date to the movies this Valentine’s Day weekend, there are many options, but not many good options. There’s Endless Love (or “purgatory,” says David Edelstein), About Last Night (which “won’t help you understand men or women any better,” says Bilge Ebiri), and Winter’s Tale. In his review, HitFix’s Drew McWeeny writes: “I am astonished by this film. I don’t know if I want to give it an ‘A’ or an ‘F.’” He’s not wrong. It’s a confounding movie: Colin Farrell rides a flying horse through the modern-day streets of NYC, Russell Crowe is a gangster-slash-demon who collects magical stones, and Will Smith pops up as Lucifer. There are so many things that happen! Here are the most ridiculous ones.

1. Colin Farrell lives inside the Grand Central Terminal ceiling mural.
In the beginning of this 129-minute-long fairy tale, Peter Lake’s (Colin Farrell) parents get denied at Ellis Island, put him into a model ship, and drop that thing straight into the ocean. He safely(!) washes up in Brooklyn, gets involved with gangster/demon Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe), falls in love with a sick heiress, and eventually moves into the ceiling of Grand Central Terminal. You know that starry mural? He lives in it.

2. When in peril, our hero Peter Lake randomly comes upon a flying horse.
Okay, it’s clearly Pegasus, but
not one character in this entire film admits as such. Instead, this white horse that saves Peter in every single perilous situation is given the name “Horse.” At one point, Lake says: “I suppose you know what to do, Horse.” Which makes sense in the film because Lake escapes via Horse constantly! In one of those many heroic Horse moments, our true hero saves Lake by performing a flying stomp (I honestly don’t know what else to call this) upon a frozen lake, sinking a slew of menacing cars — which bob around like awful CGI icebergs.

3. No one really knows what consumption is. Or what it does.
Hey, I’ve seen Moulin Rouge
. I know what consumption is! It’s a fatal disease that slowly kills while still keeping you super pretty. Or, rather, it’s an old-timey name for tuberculosis. According to Winter’s Tale, it’s a fever that makes your body so hot that you can melt snow with your feet. You know, normal fever things. To stave off death, you have to sleep in a tent on a roof and keep your heart rate down so you don’t burn up and die.

4. Will Smith plays the Devil.
No, really. When Soames goes to visit “the Judge,” it turns out to be Lucifer … played by Will Smith. At my screening, his introduction was drowned out by a sea of stifled laughs and a few seemingly genuine gasps. And while Soames has some creepy scars on his face that imply his villainy, the scariest thing about Smith’s Lucifer is that he wears two tiny (but distracting!) hoop earrings. There’s also a part where he gets angry and his mouth opens wide revealing teeth that resemble those of one of the creatures from
Where the Wild Things Are.

5. Jennifer Connelly and Colin Farrell bond over microfiche.
After Lake and his true love Beverly Penn (
Downton Abbey’s forever-dying Jessica Brown Findlay) consummate their adoration, she dies immediately. Immediately! I can’t stress how quickly after they orgasm that she dies. She’s dead, and it turns out he can’t save her; he somehow loses his memory and then stops aging. Completely. Why? So he can meet cooking columnist Virginia Gamely (Jennifer Connelly) in 2014 and check out some microfiche. They find a picture of him, 100 years ago, he remembers who he is, and it turns out the verrrry old lady who owns the newspaper is Penn’s sister. What a coincidence!

6. Peter Lake and Horse fly up into the sky and become a star.
After Peter saves Gamely’s sick daughter (because 
she was the redhead he was destined to save, not his consumptive ex-girlfriend), there’s really nothing else for him to do, so he and Horse take off into the sky … to become a star. Why? Because the stars are actually human souls who are done being “reborn” on Earth after they perform their one miracle. Everyone has one miracle. Well, my miracle is that I stayed awake for this entire movie. Guess that means I can leave now! [Flies up into the sky.]

6 Ridiculous Things That Happen in Winter’s Tale