Winter's Tale | In Defense of Sentimentality

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Dear Blue,

I'm so sorry that I haven't written in a long while. It's really Winter's Tale' fault. When I first watched the trailer, I was stunned at the stark emotion flooding from Colin Farrell's eyes. I think it's rare to find this kind of unabashed emotion flowing from someone else, and it immediately drove me to discover more about the story. And then I discovered that Winter's Tale was adapted from a novel...don't tell me that a film was adapted from a novel, because I'll make it my mission. What I discovered was a 700+ page (exquisitely written) monolith that tells a simple (or not so simple) love story rooted to complex and even lofty ideas of love, justice, faith and purpose that really astounds me. But more on that later, as I haven't finished the novel yet.

I saw the film yesterday, and I thought I'd take a moment to write you about what has amazed me most (so far) about unabashed sentimentality.

If you decide to read Winter's Tale or watch the film (I do recommend both), you'll discover that the main protagonist, Peter Lake, has a heart the size of the Atlantic ocean. He's an orphan who has, unfortunately, been thrust into quite a few unsavory scenarios in a seeming unforgiving Edwardian New York City, via the crazed Pearly Somes. But his heart somehow remains pure, in that he wants what everyone wants: to discover his purpose, to love and be loved, and to stand up for the justice of the impoverished. When Peter meets Beverly, a young woman with consumption, his purpose cracks wide open in a split second, and they are unafraid to immediately plunge into the kind of love that can put off some in this generation. Perhaps, it's Beverly's precarious situation that renders them unwilling to be bothered with pretensions and games of their feelings. Peter and Beverly's love for each other, beautifully portrayed by Mr. Farrell and Ms. Findlay, is a wonder to behold. It immediately seems plausible that their love and care for each other's welfare is genuine. A few people have reviewed the love portrayed in the film as naive, unbelievable, or cliche. I don't argue against those, as everyone has their own preference. But my question is, what is real love, if not an unabashedly naked naivety that exposes all of the uncomfortable bits we've all been made to feel are childish?

I think that sometimes the world can seem so harrowing, that we retreat into a fortress within ourselves, where a voice says, "Stand Strong. Don't cry. Always be a step ahead of everyone else. Never show weakness. Never show them how you really feel." When we see the opposite of these emotions played out, it can feel absolutely ridiculous. It's all a risk. Every single layer of love seems as if it were designed to be the nuclear bomb to our defenses. It's sticky, warm, and shakes us out of our caricatures, and into our true selves, which can be unnerving. But consider that continuing to love, to be tender and open in a war zone of a world, holds more courage than artificial stoicism. When did we start believing that apathy is worth aspiring to? If love weren't like this, what would be worth the fight? If it didn't so expose who we think we are as lies, what would be the point?

In defense of sentimentality in storytelling, I say, yes, there are loads of manufactured stories of love at first sight. By all means, stay away from those. But there are some stories that are real. Some that are possible in real life with God fashioning it. Sometimes watching them, or reading about them may make you laugh, or roll your eyes. But even that doesn't make them any less possible.

If I've taken nothing else from this novel/film, it's that for all of us, truly awe inspiring things are possible, but the hard and even cliched answer is, you must have faith for any of these things to come true.

If you've seen or read Winter's Tale, what did you think of them (no spoilers, as I'm only 300 pages into the novel :-)?

Loads of Love,

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