A Tale of Winter (French: Conte d'hiver) is 1992 French film written and directed by Éric Rohmer. It's the second of his Tales of the Four Seasons.
Félicie (Charlotte Véry) has a fling with hunky chef Charles (Frédéric van den Driessche) on a summer holiday before heading off to Paris. She gives him her address, hopeful that they can continue their romance, but he never writes her back. Five years later, she's living with her mother (Christiane Desbois) and raising Elise (Ava Loraschi), the daughter that Charles unknowingly fathered. Félicie is involved in a Love Triangle with Maxence (Michel Voletti), the owner of the hair salon where she works, and Loïc (Hervé Furic), a librarian who befriended her when she moved to Paris. But she still carries a torch for Charles, especially once she realized he never wrote her because she mistakenly wrote down the wrong town name on the address slip she gave him.
In the final two weeks of December, Félicie's life takes her on a rollercoaster ride that forces her to examine her values and relationships with the men in her life. But as a new year approaches, Félicie experiences one final fateful twist.
Not to be confused with the play The Winter's Tale by William Shakespeare (though a performance of said play is part of the storyline), or with Winter's Tale novel from 1983, and its 2014 film adaptation.
This film contains examples of:
- Adorkable: Loïc is a handsome, but nerdy, librarian.
- Arc Words: "Victor Hugo", oddly enough.
- The Bard on Board: Not only does the film have the same title as The Winter's Tale in French (Conte d'hiver), Félicie and Loïc see a performance of it, and the scene where Hermione's statue comes to life makes her cry, since it reminds her of her hope that she'll see Charles again (and provides obvious Foreshadowing to us that she actually will before the film ends).
- Betty and Veronica: Another of Rohmer's male versions of this, with Loïc as Betty and Maxence as Veronica.
- Call-Back: A few to My Night at Maud's—the holiday season setting, a single mother as a major character, and a reference to Pascal's Wager.
- Chekhov's Gunman: It's quite apparent to us that Charles is going to show up again before the end of the film in an unexpected way, but Félicie also comes to the same conclusion as well.
- Extremely Short Timespan: After the prologue, the story starts on December 14 and ends on December 31, a span that also invokes Did I Mention It's Christmas?.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Félicie (Sanguine), Maxence (Choleric), Loïc (Melancholic), Charles (Phlegmatic).
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Félicie says she decided to have Charles' child because she doesn't like going against nature.
- Happy Ending: Félicie bumps into Charles on the bus, they reunite, he gets to meet his daughter, and they attend the family New Year's Eve party together.
- Has a Type: Félicie likes tall, strongly-built men with dark, wavy hair. This was an Actor-Inspired Element, since Rohmer had Charlotte Véry choose who would play Charles from a set of actors' photos, then she chose who played Maxence and Loïc too.
- Love Dodecahedron: The four main characters.
- Mr. Fanservice/Ms. Fanservice: In the prologue, Charles is shirtless for most of it, while Félicie is completely nude in some shots.
- One Film Actress: The only film appearance for young Ava Loraschi (Elise).
- The One That Got Away: Charles, for Félicie.
- Production Foreshadowing: Charles mentions that he's going to the coast of Brittany, which would be the setting for Rohmer's next entry in the Four Seasons series, A Summer's Tale.
- Relationship Revolving Door: Félicie and Loïc have been on-and-off partners for several years.
- Sleeping with the Boss: Félicie and Maxence.
- Someone to Remember Him By: Elise is this for Félicie. Félicie even keeps a picture of Charles in Elise's bedroom and tells her all about him.
- Struggling Single Mother: Félicie is this, but she acts like a Glamorous Single Mother, impulsively deciding to move with her daughter to another city on a couple days' notice.
- Time Skip: After a short prologue, the film jumps ahead five years.
- Train-Station Goodbye: Félicie and Charles at the end of the prologue.