Winter's Tale, also known as A New York Winter's Tale, has failed to warm the hearts of critics following its Valentine's Day release.

Colin Farrell
Colin Farrell stars in Winter's Tale as Peter Lake.

The film has a stellar cast including: Colin Farrell (Phone Booth); Russell Crowe (Les Misérables); Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey); Jennifer Connelly (Beautiful Mind); Will Smith (Men in Black); and a large host of other famous names. 

Winter's Tale, based on Mark Helprin's novel of the same name, tells the story of Peter Lake (Farrell), a burglar who falls in love with a wealthy heiress, Beverly Penn (Findlay) whilst seeking refuge in her mansion. Lake is a burglar and on the run from his former gang leader, Pearly Soames, played by Russell Crowe. Penn is dying from tuberculosis but this doesn't stop Lake from falling in love with her. During this period, both Soames and Lake find themselves moving between two time periods: New York in the 1916 and the city in 2014. 

Jessica Brown Findlay
Jessica Brown Findlay as Beverly Penn in Winter's Tale.

As confusing as it seems in writing, it's just as complex in the film and, as the critics point out, only those who have read the book will understand the comings and goings of the various characters. Jocelyn Noeveck (Associated Press) referenced this aspect in her review, stating Winter's Tale "might all make more sense to fans of the book. But you shouldn't have to have read the book to be able to see and enjoy the movie."

However, even those who have read the book have struggled to appreciate the film and have described it, as A.O. Scott wrote in the New York Times, "Clumsy and inert, a lumbering white elephant rather than the flying white horse that is the novel's magical mascot."

Critics have failed to understand the premise of the film and believe it is a confusing mass of ideas gone largely astray. Claudia Puig (USA Today) wrote "Not only is the story of magic, angels, demons and predetermined destiny preposterous, but the characters are also unconvincing and the dialogue sanctimonious." 

Watch the trailer for Winter's Tale:

Those who have positively reviewed the Winter's Tale are evidently hopeless romantics and have appreciated the presence of romance within the film. As Kenneth Turan (L.A. Times) wrote: "Because it is fearlessly sincere and not totally successful, Winter's Tale is easy to mock. But it is also hard not to admire its willingness to go all out in its quest for the grandest of romantic gestures."

Winter's Tale is out in US cinemas now and will be in UK cinemas on 21st February 2014.

Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe as the villain Pearly Soames in Winter's Tale.