The White Countess

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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Released 2005

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Movie Summary

Director:
James Ivory
Released:
2005
Rating:
PG-13
The White Countess is a 2005 historical drama about exiles in Shanghai before the beginning of World War 2. Former diplomat Todd Jackson (Ralph Fiennes) lives a disillusioned life abroad. He's lost his sight, his career and his belief in love. He spends his nights drinking at a worn-out bar, dreaming of one day opening the perfect bar. One night, a woman, Sofia (Natasha Richardson), warns Todd that someone is trying to pickpocket him and kindly escorts him safely home. Sofia is actually the widowed Countess Belinsky, former Russian royalty who has been reduced to supporting her daughter as a bar girl. Though her former in-laws, Aunt Sara (Vanessa Redgrave) and Olga (Lynn Redgrave), also financially depend on her, they consider her a whore. When Todd wins the money to open his perfect bar, he offers Sofia the opportunity to become a hostess without the extracurricular demands of "falling in love" with the clients. Just as Todd's dream comes true, the threat of a Japanese invasion of China is imminent. Director James Ivory recreates a unique time and place in this exotic political drama.moreless

Metacritic Score

  • 60

    The New York Times Stephen Holden

    With its tentative pace, fussy, pieced-together structure and stuffy emotional climate, The White Countess never develops any narrative stamina.

  • 60

    Los Angeles Times Carina Chocano

    The White Countess takes place in a fascinating time and place, rife with conflict and turmoil. But to watch Fiennes float (and Richardson trudge) through it all, absorbed in thems...

  • 50

    Variety Justin Chang

    This final production from the team of James Ivory and the late Ismail Merchant is itself adrift in more ways than one, with a literate but meandering script by "The Remains of the...

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    Categories

    Drama

    Themes

    Love & Romance, Historical