"Movies like this used to have lots of singing and dancing, not to mention Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland," says TIME's Richard Schickel. "But if you love show-biz fables in which the desperate improvisations of sweet-souled egomaniacs are rewarded by improbable last-minute success, writer-director Kenneth Branagh's 'A Midwinter's Tale' is a very acceptable update." Especially if you like Woody Allen. Branagh has adopted a number of Allen's mannerisms in shooting this story of a half a dozen profoundly marginalized English actors determined to put on a play. "Branagh sometimes sacrifices bite to the sentiment so endemic to show biz," says Schickel. "But this bustling, affectionately knowing film is never slow biz."