One summer, the young Felicie and Charles fall deeply, passionately in love. Five years later, after accidentally giving him a false address, she is raising his child and drifting back and forth between two infatuated men with whom she’s unwilling, or unable, to settle down.
“The conception may be a little too rigorously Catholic for some tastes (including mine), but Rohmer has become such a master of his chosen classic genre – the crystalline philosophical tale of character and romantic choice – that this is a nearly perfect work, in performance as well as execution, with an apposite if ambiguous extended reference to Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale in the penultimate act.”
“In Rohmer’s work film has found one of its own ways, among the arts, of marking the intersection of contingency and necessity, of chance and logic. So an initial question in the case of Rohmer’s discoveries of his medium is: How has he – for whom has he – found subjects (meaning persons and places and topics) that, on film, render the exploration of such ordinary questions of metaphysics, or such metaphysical questions of the ordinary, representable and of continuous interest.”
“Felicie travels between places but more deeply, she travels between options, between ways of living, reality and fantasy, truth and lies. The truth is that she loves Charles. That is what matters, that love she feels. Her reality though is that she will probably never see him again. The film concerns itself with how she deals with this conundrum. She is a young woman with a child. Her love for Charles does not obliterate her physical and emotional needs. She loves Loïc and Maxence. She just doesn’t love either of them enough. Compared to the love she feels for Charles, it is untrue love and she is unable to live a life that isn’t true. Her shuttling between things: men, houses, towns, which becomes more extreme as the film progresses, reflects the way she bounces between the reality that she may never find Charles and the need to make a real life, with love, sex and companionship in it, and the opposing reality that love with any man who is not Charles is essentially untrue, and thus unsupportable. When she comes to a decision in the church in Nevers she is, for once, completely still. Within herself she arrives at a decision. Without, she begins a journey towards her arbitrary miracle.”
- 1Jonathan Rosenbaum, “A Tale of Winter,” Chicago Reader, 1985.
- 2Stanley Cavell, “On Eric Rohmer’s A tale of Winter,” in Cavell on Film, ed. William Rothman (New York: State University of New York Press, 2005), 287-293.
- 3Tamara Tracz, “Where Is She Going?: Travelling in the films of Eric Rohmer,” Senses of Cinema, June 2018.