Rick Dabagian’s review published on Letterboxd:
Now I understand how this film makes Once Upon a Time in Anatolia feel like a 90 minute action flick. It is long. Ceylan acknowledged as much, and hoped we weren't tired, as we slowly passed by the scheduled 7pm start time.
The film is about a couple, an older man and his young wife. He is wealthy, owning various properties and mainly running a small hotel. There is a main plot line involving some of his tenants, and some tensions with his wife, but the film is 99% conversation. Ceylan briefly told us that the origin of the film is a series of Chekov short stories. Of course I am not familiar with any of these, as I am a dumb American. I presume that many of the topics and themes of the lengthy conversations in the film were taken from these short stories. Some themes are clear, others I had trouble with, mainly as the film goes on and on.
Somewhere in the first third of the film I was in love with it. It was beautiful, interesting, and quite funny. As the film continued and we started to see longer, isolated conversations, a particularly lengthy one between Aydin and his sister, I started to struggle. Partially because I was getting tired, partially because my ass was falling asleep and I couldn't get comfortable, and of course partially because of the pace of the film. I can't help but say that I think I'd been able to enjoy it even more if it was a bit shorter, though if I was able to stay attentive I think I would have been ok. I can certainly say that it was still always more intriguing and engaging than other "difficult" films I've struggled with. Unlike The Turin Horse which I couldn't wait to end, and which I despised as I watched it, I was doing my best to keep my mind from wandering, trying to read all the dialogue and hear what they were talking about.
The film is getting lots of praise, rightfully so. Just know what you're getting into, and I'd highly recommend seeing Anatolia first, which I definitely prefer at this moment but would have to see Winter Sleep again, preferably during the day, to say for sure.