The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show.
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The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
Movies and TV shows are Certified Fresh with a steady Tomatometer of 75% or higher after a set amount of reviews (80 for wide-release movies, 40 for limited-release movies, 20 for TV shows), including 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Percentage of users who rate a movie or TV show positively.
Ishiguro is a wonderful novelist, but perhaps not a natural-born screenwriter. The White Countess feels schematic and dramatically inert. Ivory, for all the acting talent at his disposal, finds plenty of style in prewar Shanghai, but its pulse eludes him.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.