The White Countess (2005)
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as Todd Jackson
as Countess Sofia Belinsky
as Aunt Sara
as Uncle Peter
as Antoine Jacquier
as Russian Singer
Critic Reviews for The White Countess
Despite its brilliant evocation of this great city at this most provocative time in history, the movie just gets sillier and sillier.
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.
This is Merchant-Ivory's kind of showmanship, the unflashy adult variety of movie magic that they made their hallmark.
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.
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.
Audience Reviews for The White Countess
A blind American diplomat and a exiled Russian countess join forces to build a jazz nightclub in Shanghai in the period leading up to the Second Sino-Japanese War. Typical of a Merchant/Ivory production, the set and costume design is lush and colorful, a work of art by itself. But also typical of their work, there is an awful lot of talk; in fact, most of the conflict in this film takes place in the past, the characters revealing tortured bits about themselves rather than the suspense created from watching conflict happen. The only scenes in which this flaw is not true are in the third act, far too late. The highlights of the film are the performances by the brooding Ralph Fiennes and the glamorous Natasha Richardson. Both actors create sharp characters, and they make the too-talky exposition compelling just by their presence. I think that many American audiences, many of whom haven't been exposed to Chinese history, will get lost, unable to place the political turmoil that backdrops the film's action. The White Countess is set in that odd time between the wars, and there are few clues to ground the setting. What is more, many Americans may not realize what a diverse, bustling metropolis Shanghai was at this time and why it is conceivable that the Russian aristocracy would be exiled there. Hopefully this film is an impetus to pick up a history book or two (if you actually go beyond Wikipedia, I recommend The Soong Dynasty by Sterling Seagrave). Overall, The White Countess is by no means a great film, but it has a lot to offer for the right audience.
So there I was sittin on the couch scrolling through the guide when I see Ralph Fiennes. Automatically I hit record. I had barley any Idea wht this movie would be about. but, It had Ralph Fiennes and Jazz. Surpirse Surpirse, I LOOOVED IT!! Fiennes is without a doubt one of our greatest actros of the century! I cannot believe that He has yet to win an Oscar. I was kind hoping from more romance between Ralph and Natasha Richardson (Who was amazing as well) but thats ok, Such a great movie with some very good performances!
Great cast, dull execution
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