The White Countess Reviews

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Bob Mondello
NPR.org
October 18, 2008
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Ben Walters
Time Out
August 16, 2007
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
March 11, 2006
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
February 10, 2006
It's a pretty journey, even if it is far too talky and emotionally distant to really work.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Time Out
February 9, 2006
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Atlanta Journal-Constitution
February 4, 2006
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Tom Long
Detroit News
February 3, 2006
A tale well told, a look at history in the making and those being shaken in the process.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
February 3, 2006
A tedious, overblown bit of business.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
January 27, 2006
... The White Countess is so bloodless it all but cries for a transfusion.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
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Richard Nilsen
Arizona Republic
January 27, 2006
The White Countess, although it has its share of Masterpiece Theatre moments, is another film to remind us just how cosmopolitan is the Merchant-Ivory filmography.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
January 20, 2006
Despite its brilliant evocation of this great city at this most provocative time in history, the movie just gets sillier and sillier.
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Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
January 20, 2006
A rewarding close to the Merchant Ivory oeuvre.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
January 19, 2006
So powerful is Fiennes that his performance carries the last act of an overlong film that is not as shapely as we've come to expect from Merchant and Ivory.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Susan Walker
Toronto Star
January 14, 2006
Political intrigue, the thriving jazz-era nightclub scene and the breakdown of the class system within a city in turmoil should have yielded more engaging scenarios.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
January 13, 2006
The White Countess is never less than lovely to look at, and sometimes much more.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
January 13, 2006
This is Merchant-Ivory's kind of showmanship, the unflashy adult variety of movie magic that they made their hallmark.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
January 13, 2006
This last Merchant/Ivory film feels like a thin apparition of the team's best films -- similarly static but less substantial, less palpable, and sadly less respectable, just the vestigial remains of a better day.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
January 13, 2006
Sumptuous to look at, tastefully dull, and ultimately rather silly, it whisks us to a far-off land -- the Shanghai expatriate community on the eve of World War II -- and strands us among cooked-up characters and emotions.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
January 6, 2006
As the last film from the legendary team of Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant, who died in May, The White Countess is a stirring tribute to Merchant, a true builder of dreams in an industry now sorely bereft of his unique spirit.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
January 4, 2006
It's a pleasure to report that their swan song, written by Kazuo Ishiguro, is a gilded-canvas work of graceful and touching skill.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
December 29, 2005
The more I thought about it the more I appreciated the artistry and the intelligence behind this film.
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Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
December 22, 2005
Where Shanghai should teem, it merely ambles.
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
December 21, 2005
Fiennes's performance, tricky and impassioned, is the showpiece.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
December 21, 2005
Pushed to deliver the cry of anguish that sort of material demands, Ivory can only manage a whimper.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
December 21, 2005
The White Countess is a worthy and classy conclusion to the Merchant Ivory cannon.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
December 21, 2005
[Richardson's] complex performance as a woman balancing her dignity with her survival instincts is one of the year's very best.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
December 21, 2005
Fiennes and Richardson make this film work with the quiet strangeness of their performances.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Carina Chocano
Los Angeles Times
December 20, 2005
It throws them together early on but keeps their relationship at bay until the end -- when I, for one, was way past giving a kumquat.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
December 20, 2005
It's a very classy, finely made film, and, as one watches it -- particularly those last sweeping scenes of political turbulence and escape -- one feels both pain at their parting and grateful for what, together, they achieved.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Stephen Holden
New York Times
December 20, 2005
With its tentative pace, fussy, pieced-together structure and stuffy emotional climate, The White Countess never develops any narrative stamina.
| Original Score: 2/5
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Jan Stuart
Newsday
December 20, 2005
A vaguely corny but sumptuously satisfying romantic drama that offers up heaps of everything we have come to depend on Merchant and Ivory for.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Ed Park
Village Voice
December 20, 2005
Irredeemably dull.
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
December 14, 2005
The film is well worth seeing for its performances, and for the aptness of Mr. Ivory's Sternbergian mise-en-scène.
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Justin Chang
Variety
November 29, 2005
Withholds emotional payoffs to an almost perverse degree.
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Frank Scheck
Hollywood Reporter
November 14, 2005
Notable as the final collaboration between director James Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant, The White Countess is a typically classy period piece that fits in well with the pair's considerable oeuvre.