Today’s Prayer Focus

Winter's Tale

MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for violence and some sensuality.

Reviewed by: Andrea McAteer

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Romance Fantasy Mystery Drama Adaptation
1 hr. 58 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
February 14, 2014 (wide—2,750+ theaters)
DVD: June 24, 2014
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Good vs. Evil

battle between good and evil

light vs. darkness

angels and demons

Satan in the Bible

Is Satan a real person that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer

SATAN’S STRATEGY—What is one of Satan’s most successful strategies in dealing with followers of Christ? Answer

Who is Lucifer? / devil


thieves in the Bible: theft, robbery, the two thieves


Tribulations of life

being orphaned

young dying girl

CANCER—Where did cancer come from? Answer

Issue of pain and suffering

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

Does God feel our pain? Answer

ORIGIN OF BAD—How did bad things come about? Answer

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer


TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer


immortality/eternal life versus eternal death

The Afterlife

Pagan ideas

ASTROLOGY—What’s wrong with it? Answer

Greek mythology

Featuring Jennifer ConnellyVirginia Gamely
Jessica Brown Findlay … Beverly Penn
Will SmithJudge
Colin FarrellPeter Lake
Matt Bomer … Peter’s Father
Russell CrowePearly Soames
Kevin DurandCesar Tan
William HurtIsaac Penn
See all »
Director Akiva Goldsman
Producer Village Roadshow Pictures
Warner Bros.
See all »
Distributor Warner Bros. Pictures

“This is not a true story. It’s a love story.”

This movie is not what you might expect it to be. It is presented as a love story, and it is, but it is also magical and has the forces of good and evil, complete with Lucifer himself.

Infant Peter Lake is set into the ocean in a hollowed-out model ship, just big enough to hold him. He is pulled from the water in Brooklyn NY in 1895. A con man with a knack for fixing machinery, he ends up in trouble with crime boss Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe—“Gladiator”). After a white horse mysteriously appears and aides Peter (Colin Farrell—“Total Recall”) in escaping Pearly, Peter decides he’s leaving town… after one more fateful job.

During a break in, he finds he is not alone in the home. The homeowner’s daughter, Beverly Penn (Jessica Brown Findlay—TV’s “Downton Abbey”) is home sick with consumption. After realizing Peter is not a threat to her safety, Beverly invites him for tea. There is an undeniable mutual attraction, and Peter finds himself unable to leave town.

The first real introduction of a magical element occurs while Pearly Soames is talking business with one of his underlings. He speaks of people wanting miracles, stealing, and why, in particular, he steals gems. He says it is because of how they hold the light, and he walks to a plate of beautiful, colorful jewels of various sizes. The jewels pick up the light just so and reflect an image of Penn Station, giving away Peter’s location.

Later, when Pearly goes to a restaurant, he becomes angered that he cannot get the meal of his choice and in a flash, fiery scars appear on his face, and he stabs his server. Just as quickly, the scars disappear. That was my next, “Oh, this movie is NOT what I thought” moment. I expected the magical aspect, but this scene was something unexpected and indicated that Pearly Soames was not what he seemed, and there was something more going on. That, in part, is what I like so much about this film. It is different and a surprise, combining elements in an intriguing way.

I don’t want to give away too much of the story, because it is unique, in my opinion. It has some unexpected turns, while also having some elements you can easily figure out. But part of the fun of watching a movie is seeing what happens and how, and if I give too much away, it spoils the movie-going experience. Suffice it to say, it’s more than a love story between a man and a woman. It is a story about love and miracles.

There is some offensive content. The foul language is far less than average, with 2 SOBs, 1 “G*d-d**n,” “sh*t” (2), “Jesus” (1), “Oh J*sus” (1), “Jesus Mary and Joseph” (1). There is a naked silhouette of a woman, as well as a sex scene. No nudity is shown in the sex scene, but they are shown under covers. Violence includes the aforementioned stabbing in the restaurant, which is so quick that one questions what just happened, as well as some fighting and shoot outs. A small drawing is done in blood, which could be a bit disturbing. Other than that, I don’t recall any bloodshed.

There are some New Age ideologies present, such as the film stating that when we die, we become stars, and we are all light. There are a number of comments about the universe and our part of it. In addition, Lucifer, demons and good vs. Evil are a theme in the film.

On a positive note, there are many comments or narratives that I like; I simply chose to replace the role of the universe in these comments with the love of our God. When speaking about mankind, one says “We keep losing them. They pass hope back and forth like the flu at a preschool fair.” As Christians, we hold on to God and His promises and our hope in Him, and we pray that the forces of evil are “losing” people to God’s salvation. “The universe loves us all equally. We are all special. No life is without purpose.” There are so many comments in the movie like this that I love, but they fall short—it is not the universe that loves us, it is God. And every life and soul is special, and we do all have purpose. John 3:16 reminds us that “God so loved the WORLD”…. Not just some, but all. All are loved and special.

In the film, because of their love and Beverly’s miracle, Peter is able to fulfill his own purpose and truly show that, as Pearly says “It’s the ripples that give work meaning.” There are ripples to all our actions, all we say and do, which we may or may not ever see; therefore, be kind because you want the ripples you leave to be positive. Matthew 5:14 tells us “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” May the ripples we all leave have an eternal effect leading to God.

I recognize people have different convictions in regards to what they deem acceptable in entertainment. I do think that those who are very conservative may be offended by the presence of Lucifer and a demon, as well as the ideology of the plan of the universe. Personally, I enjoyed the movie. I always like it when a movie is a bit different, and this one surprised and entertained me. If you like a bit of whimsy, fantasy magic and love, all the while battling the evil forces against us, I think you will like this film.

Violence: Moderate to heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—…Very little profanity, and nudity is not present but left to the imagination. This is the romantic spin off of movies like “Somewhere In Time,” “The Time Traveler’s Wife” and “The Lake House” with a new twist of Good vs. Evil, Satan against God. The new “Universe controls everything” is thrown in with a little Greek mythology, astrology and magic to muddy the waters. Enjoyed it, but at times was hard to follow. Don’t suggest this for young impressionable minds, but Christian adults grounded in faith and not offended by the worldly concept of religion should find this a enjoyable “Chick Flick.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
S. Owens, age 67 (USA)
Negative—The movie had some good special effects. The children gave the best performances. Although the theme was Good vs. Evil, hearing GOD’s name used as profanity is always a turn off.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Brea, age 60 (USA)
Negative—A real disappointment. Beautifully filmed, but that’s pretty much it. I found the story disjointed and the waters, “muddied” as S. Owens noted in a previous review. Russell Crowe plays a no-nonsense demonic character who consults his superior named Lucifer. No mention of God or redemption through Christ in this good vs. Evil movie. The movie is touted as a love story, but to me, that theme appeared secondary. There are some “horror” moments—intense rage, blood, physical violence, repeated attempts at murder, death by poisoning. There is a love-making scene—one sees a good bit of intense kissing primarily from the shoulders up in bed and the man’s bare back.

Other sensual moments—the young woman’s figure outlined in a flimsy nightgown, her disrobing in a lit tent, again, her profile obvious. Angel and demon characters figure into the story, mention is made of a spirit guide giving a nod to Pegasus, a prominent white horse that appears often. It’s a fantasy story, supposedly a love story, but I was more struck by what seemed to be a greater portrayal of darkness than light in the movie. The movie’s ending seemed to indicate that when people fulfill their role on Earth, they become stars in heaven.

Moral quality? Good does triumph over evil, but on what basis? Where does the hero get his spiritual strength to overcome evil? From love for the young woman? What is the source of the love? Theirs was a brief affair, mostly fueled by physical attraction. There was a good bit of “wrong” conduct on the hero’s part even though things appeared to end up positively. I would not suggest any of the characters as good role models—on what would they base their “virtue?” My thought: not worth the ticket price and not a good choice for young people.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
Kandia C., age 57 (USA)
Negative—I began to watch the movie with the understanding that it was mystical. However, it went from odd in nature to somewhat offensive. As a 22 year old Christian, I believe that it is important to guard our eye and ear gates. When the movie began using God’s name in vain and portrayed demonic-looking figures within the first 30 minutes, I came to a conclusion. I decided that regardless of how interesting and usual the story might be, I would not recommend my younger brother or parents to watch it.

With this view, I could find something more wholesome to occupy my time watching. There is a verse in 1 Corinthians that I love and try to live by, “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial”. Basically, if something is not sinful, it is permissible. But, not every permissible choice is a wise choice or one that will benefit the health of your mind, spirit, and emotions. This is a principal I hope that many young people my age will come to understand in walk in.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Bre, age 22 (USA)

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