Flash Movie Review: The White Countess
It has been said that outside of divorce, moving is the most stressful thing in one’s life. I remember gaining 15 pounds on my last move. Having lived in the same area my whole life, I cannot imagine how much more anxiety ridden it would be, to move out of state. There was a time when I was planning to move out of state; the saving grace being it was my choice, for a happy reason. It has to be awful when one is being forced out of their home. And what must it be like if you had to leave the country of your birth? Set in Shanghai, China during the 1930’s; Russian Countess Sofia Belinskya, played by Natasha Richardson (The Parent Trap, Maid in Manhattan), was the sole income earner for her displaced family. She worked at a bar, entertaining the male clientele. One day she noticed Todd Jackson, played by Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter franchise, The Reader), a blind American ex-diplomat. When Countess Sofia noticed two men plotting to jump Mr. Jackson outside of the club; she interceded, guiding him to safety. From this chance meeting, the two sad individuals formed a working relationship. The countess would be the centerpiece to Mr. Jackson’s new business venture, a nightclub called The White Countess. This beautiful period piece was good because of the acting. It is sad that we do not have Natasha in our lives anymore; for she was wonderful as the melancholy woman of royalty, reduced to degradation and worry, as Japanese forces began exerting their presence in the city. Ralph Fiennes did an outstanding acting job with his role. However, I found it disappointing that Natasha’s mother and aunt, Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave were underutilized. The story dragged in parts, in need of some tightening up. If you are not familiar with Natasha Richardson’s work, you would be well served by seeing her in this movie.
2 3/4 stars — DVD