Today's movie is A Tale of Winter, directed by Eric Rohmer n 1992. For some reason this movie was difficult to find, and I ended up buying a cheap VHS of it. I don't know why it was such bad quality, it isn't that old of a movie. Ah well. I was glad that I got to see it, despite the quality. It was a really interesting film, full of great writing and really engaging characters. I liked that it was a romantic film but it didn't feel like a strange fantasy or anything. It just focused on how normal people deal with relationships. I mean, people were a little obsessive, but overall, it felt very...normal.
The movie is summarized really well on IMDB, and because it's after 2am, I'm just going to quote that. Forgive me. "Felicie and Charles have a serious if whirlwind holiday romance. Due to a mix-up on addresses they lose contact, and five years later at Christmas-time Felicie is living with her mother in a cold Paris with a daughter as a reminder of that long-ago summer. For male companionship she oscillates between hairdresser Maxence and the intellectual Loic, but seems unable to commit to either as the memory of Charles and what might have been hangs over everything" (IMDB). Doesn't that sound just like how many people think about love and relationships? Most people have one person who "got away" and they obsess over, and Felicie has Charles for that. It just felt very realistic to me, I guess.
I just loved the pace of the movie, the way everything sort of slowly unfolded just like real life. I liked how the characters had people that they could share their emotions with, and people that they were able to open up to. I think that one of the great strengths of the movie is that anyone could relate to this story - we all have someone we still think about. It's easy to watch and has a great flow to it all. I particularity liked that there was a pretty big jump in time right away, of five years. It really added to the realism to the film - things happen with people, and we have to just move on with our lives. Our relationships shape us and affect us, but for most of us, they don't dominate our lives, and I liked that Rohmer was able to show this through something as simple as one title card.
I honestly don't know what else to say! I just found the movie to be a touching and engrossing story, with wonderfully written characters and plot. It was grounded in realism instead of fantasy, unlike most romantic films, which I really loved. It didn't feel like a documentary or something boring, though. It had a little something extra to keep it from falling too flat or seeming too realistic. Ebert writes in his essay that that films like this are great because they deal in small truths, and don't worry so much about the big ones. I really agree with that. There are many large issues that films can work out, but I liked that this just focused on the smaller ones. We either know people who are like these characters, or we are like these characters. I really enjoyed watching it, there were parts of it that really reminded me of things I've been through in my own life (to a much lesser degree). It was great to see relationships dealt with in a mature way in a film, and I'm so glad that I was able to watch this great movie. I hope you check it out!
Have any thoughts about A Tale of Winter? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Ebert's Great Movie Essay on A Tale of Winter
Buy it on Amazon