The White Countess
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James Ivory directed this historical drama of a man who has shut himself away from a world he cannot change. Todd Jackson (Ralph Fiennes) is an American expatriate living in Shanghai in the late '30s. While Jackson was once an American diplomat who came to Shanghai with great optimism about China's future, the bitter political squabbling and military violence that are a part of daily life in China caused him to become bitterly disillusioned. Jackson also lost most of his sight, and he has retreated into Shanghai's decadent underworld of bars and brothels rather than face the world.… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 50%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It's a pretty journey, even if it is far too talky and emotionally distant to really work."
‑ Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
"... The White Countess is so bloodless it all but cries for a transfusion."
‑ Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"[Ivory] takes a tired, cliché-ridden, nostalgic screenplay by Kazuo Ishiguro and layers on the ennui."
‑ David Noh, Film Journal International
"It has an emotional payoff. It isn't much, but by Merchant-Ivory standards it is an orgasm of raw emotion."
‑ Robert Roten, Laramie Movie Scope
"A middling example of the sort of tony projects upon which [Merchant and Ivory] built their reputations."
‑ Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing
"A tale well told, a look at history in the making and those being shaken in the process."
‑ Tom Long, Detroit News
"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."
‑ Richard Nilsen, Arizona Republic
"Esteticamente impecável (como todas as produções Merchant Ivory), o filme falha do ponto de vista narrativo, revelando-se, como seus personagens, excessivamente frio e emocionalmente distante."
‑ Pablo Villaca, Cinema em Cena
"Though [Merchant-Ivory] hadn't made a first-rate film since The Remains of the Day in 1993, there was always a chance they'd hit one last pitch out of the park. The White Countess, their final pairing, is just a bloop single."
‑ Lawrence Toppman, Charlotte Observer
"A beautiful movie with an intriguing central theme and cast that is far easier to admire than to actually like."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"A tedious, overblown bit of business."
‑ Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press
"While a beautiful and moving film, The White Countess, sadly falls short of being a great one because it never allows us into the hearts of its primary protagonists."
‑ Brandon Fibbs,
"James Ivory has cast Britain's acting aristocracy to play post-Revolution Russian aristocracy, which brings much gravitas and many subtle performance highs to this drawn out story set in 1936/7 Shanghai."
‑ Urban Cinefile Critics, Urban Cinefile
"One of the great partnerships in movies ends not with a bang or even a whimper, but with a stifled yawn."
‑ Rob Thomas, Capital Times (Madison, WI)
"A little judicious editing might have made it more effective."
‑ Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
More reviews for The White Countess on Rotten Tomatoes