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Reviews & Ratings for
White Palace More at IMDbPro »

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38 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

Toe Curling Passion!

Author: foolishewe from United States
26 June 2001

White palace has a great sexual dynamic, clearly Susan Sarandon's character (Nora Baker) is a sexually charged self confident woman who is at least 10 years or so older than James Spader's character (Max Baron). This movie shows how deep attraction and passion can change people's lives (perhaps for the better) and overcome class/personality and age differences.

The first and perhaps most noticeable aspect is one of the hottest and more believable seduction scenes in a movie, where Nora shows a raw animal passion for Max rarely shown in movies (and when it is is shown in an unfavorable light, e.g. Single White Female). Susan Sarandon pulls off this challenging scene with great passion AND dignity.

The May/December romance with the older lady is shown in a healthy light (not like say The Graduate).

But more important than the age dynamic, is the deep attraction between Nora and Max, which goes strongly across traditional cultural differences. Max is a compulsively organized widower, neat and decidedly upper-middle/upper class. Nora is more impulsive, living a less ordered existence and is lower/lower middle class. Max has conditional love for Nora, trying to change her (unintentionally acting judgemental?) by trying to help her out (e.g. buying her cleaning supplies as a "gift"). Nora teaches Max about life, and passion. This movie has a much more interesting love story than say "Pretty Woman".

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27 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

A beautiful love story, about a young man, and an older woman

Author: efaa ( from The Netherlands
13 May 2002

The story is about a young man ( Yuppie)who falls in love with a woman who is 15 years his senior. A beautiful love story with lots of passion. They live in two totally different worlds. he's rich , she's poor.It doesn't work. So she moves to NYC But his love is so true an deep. So when he finds her they come back together. A perfectly happy end.

The reason why I watched this movie was because I'm truly one of the biggest Susan Sarandon fans. She shines absolutely beautiful in this movie.And James Spader has performed one of his bests roles ever. my favourite scene is when Nora (Susan) meets one of Max(James)'s Friends, Sherri.She asks Nora "you know our max is quite a catch. How Did you manage it?" and Nora says:"I give a good b***job I guess" Sherri : Hmmmmm.. I bet you do"and Nora answers: "And I bet you don't" You must see the look on Sherri's face

I think it's a great movie because normally hollywood is afraid of a love story about a young man and an older woman.There should be more of those movies because some people think it's strange when a older woman has a love relation with a much younger man. ( I've never thought it was strange and I'm only a fifteen year old girl) But most people find it absolutely normal when an old man has something with a much younger woman. So I think this movie is really important.

We can all learn something about it.

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25 out of 30 people found the following review useful:


Author: (fandangonoir) from USA
22 March 2000

This is a film a lot of people didn't see. It is just a simple tale of a younger rich man who shacks up with an older much poorer, working class woman who works at a hamburger joint called White Palace. The name is obviously taken from the East Coast burger chain White Castle. Susan Sarandon picks up a drunk James Spader in a bar and takes him home for a night of sweet lovin'. The love scenes that follow are actually very erotic and sexy, not dull like most Hollywood love scenes.

We need more stories like this. You always see movies with MUCH older men with MUCH younger women: Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta Jones in Entrapment, Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt in As Good As It Gets...etc. Where are all the stories of younger men with older women? Welp, this film is one of 'em. And this is one younger guy who likes what he sees when he sees White Palace. Like it said on the poster of this movie: "The story of a younger man and a bolder woman."

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20 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Unlikely but hopeful romance

Author: budikavlan from Austin, Texas
4 September 2002

It was interesting to me that it was more of a problem that she was such a slob than that she was significantly older than him. If anyone can carry off a believable and appealing older woman/younger man romance to a mass audience, it's Susan Sarandon. No other actress combines her ripe, open sexuality with such an accessible and self-assured personality. She makes sexiness respectable. James Spader does less well, not so much because of a faulty performance, but because he seems unable to break through a preternatural reserve. It served him well in "Sex, Lies and Videotape" but a little more emotionality is called for here. The sex scene when he is writhing in the throes of passion and finds a half-eaten sandwich under the bed is hilarious, not to mention the pivotal scene when he gives her a dustbuster as a gift. The future for this couple might seem unlikely, but I don't think it's any less likely than that of most movie lovers.

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18 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

A unique relationship is put to the test

Author: Lady-Lee from Pennsylvania
5 August 1999

Wonderful romance and character study between two people who live on the opposite sides of the tracks.Two strong but stereotypical people pair up and evolve into very un-stereotypical unit and try to function in a hostile enviroment. The acting in the movie is so good it surpasses the diologue. The loss and love Spader communicates with just his eyes is a sight to behold and Sarandon projects a dichotomy of neediness and strength.

This movie contains one of the best endings in movie history, right up there with Green Card. A truly uplifting movie that conveys joy, hope, and victory. What more can a woman ask for? And James Spader is a hunk!!

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12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Outstanding but little known-just give it a try.

Author: triple8 from Conn
1 February 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Having already commented on this one once, I had to comment again as I just watched it again for the umpeenth time. I had rated this about an 8, it's actually more like a 9 and one of my top 50 movies ever. I know everyone has a right to their opinion but this movie is so little known I truly hope at least one person reads some POSITVE reviews on here and gives it a shot.

I do NOT think Sarandon looked unattractive here as people have said but if she did, it really doesn't matter because the focus of the story has little to do with physical attractiveness. The theme here is love-and loving who YOU want to love versus who your friends, family and society wants you to. It's also about identity and about finding out that the person you truly are maybe quite different then who you always thought you were. The film brings to life the characters in the amazing book(I'd recommend the book version of this as well, it's even better then the film). Sarandon gives a luminous performance as Nora, she's the only actress I could ever see in the role anyway. The film is tragic, touching, gloriously acted and brings up some interesting issues of love and identity. I'm amazed this pic isn't better known, I agree very much with Ebert's review particularly(SPOILER)

The last scene that kind of does take credibility away fro the rest of the pic but then again-it maybe a little to Hollywood but the movie did (somewhat) follow the book's ending which was also positive although nowhere near the film's last scene.

I would recommend this to everyone particularly Sarandon fans, fans of the romance Genre, fans of Dramas in General or just people who like to dig up films that are kind of little known. Every time I see this I like it just a little bit more.

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15 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Sarandon, as usual never disappoints

Author: jertob from Clifton, NJ
29 December 2000

Truth to tell I only watched this movie recently because I consider Susan Sarandon one of our finest actors. Also, I'm going add, one of our sexiest actors too. Ms. Sarandon gets the most from this role by underplaying the part with most of her interpretation deriving from her facial expressions. And, I have to admit, that if she can excite a 70 year-old man with her sexual magnetism as she did me, she has it all over some of the so-called younger sexy actresses. There was one scene that bothered me though, the Thanksgiving dinner scene where Spader's Jewish family is depicted as shallow and bigoted, something like Woody Allen's family in one of his films. Also, why the director ended the picture with that hokey table-top nonsense in a crowded restaurant is beyond understanding. It detracted from the reality of the film.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Built on shifting sands...

Author: Howlin Wolf from Oldham, Gtr Manchester, England.
1 September 2009

I liked James Spader's performance; demonstrating as it does a vulnerable quality I didn't know he had. All those wistful looks off into the distance, and the general aura of a man beaten down by life make for something that – I have to say - is pretty touching! This softer element he brings to the part was a nice change from seeing him do the sleazeball routine for the umpteenth time... The movie itself is reminiscent of Pretty Woman in spots, and is a pleasant surprise. An offbeat sleeper on Sarandon's resume.

It's got that whole 'you can't rationalise who you love' motif, which I'm all too aware of, in my everyday living... (of course)

The whole 'keeping things around for show as an empty token of status' philosophy of some of the protagonists pals is a nice comment on the world of yuppie superficiality that James Spader's characters themselves have often been found immersed in. The movie could easily have been just another bland melodrama, but these themes provide a refreshing and unexpected counterpoint.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A slight plot, but a film with many subtle and sensitive moments

Author: nickcgardner from Scotland
19 April 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a straightforward and touching film, and a treat for anyone who enjoys watching actors - especially either of these two - playing small scale scenes recognisable from every day life. They play well together and I suspect the way the director enabled them to work had a hand in this. Unusually, the film is set in St. Louis.

The film is often under rated and its central relationship derided as implausible. I believe this is unfair and misses the point of the film.

It's a simple tale of class, differing social milieu and how people's social circles influence the choices we make in life. This couple resolve these issues by moving to another city, but not all of us can so readily choose this option.

Is their relationship implausible? Well aside from the obvious point that Susan Sarandon (Nora,) looks radiant most of the time, and probably never looked better on film, Spader's character (Max,) is not quite as preppy as he appears, and has more in common with Nora than first meets the eye. There is of course, their shared grief, but Max's mother(Edith,) appears in two scenes, and she is, I believe, a key to understanding their relationship.

Edith has a Brooklyn type accent which points to Max having something of a working class background himself, and further, he has ambivalent feelings towards her - for one thing, she is uncomfortable in formal social settings. I think these suggest that Max's attraction to Nora is not nearly as left field as it may appear. Further, I see a facial similarity between the actors, especially around the eyes and mouth, which social psychologists often cite as a predictor of couple attraction.

As to whether the film is any good...? I think it portrays the joys, tensions and compromises of the early stages of a relationship very convincingly. They have a lot of sex, they have rows, they make up, they meet each other's friends, they annoy each other, they work their way through issues. It's not War and Peace, but it does reflect every day life quite consonantly. It has some inspired comic touches - "the sandwich" springs to mind - a solid chemistry between the two stars, and some touching pieces of observation such as when Max tenderly explores Nora's belongings reminiscently of Garbo in Queen Christina.

If you fancy a touching love story, well acted, with stand back and don't get in the way direction, and with gentle undercurrents of social commentary, then The White Palace is worth a shot. If you check the voting for it, you'll see that quite a few people agree with me!

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Loss of love, trying to find it again...

Author: MarieGabrielle from United States
20 November 2006

there are very few romance or romantic comedies, which strike a real note for the audience, or anyone who appreciates reality and decent acting.

This film does have that. Sarandon is very good; she is a "down-at-heel" waitress, almost twenty years older than the character portrayed by Spader. Some of the interactions are amusing and sad. Her drinking, her loss of a child. Spader's background is respectable, white-collar but bored, he meets Sarandon after missing his deceased wife.

Films like this are sometimes underrated. There was not a lot of hype about this film, which is one of the reasons I like it (We do not need Hollywood to tell us what's good, i.e. "The Break Up", which was actually not good).

While the scenes with Spader's relatives were a bit stereotyped, overall there are a few good messages here. Life doesn't always work out how we want, "perfect couples" aren't necessarily happy, and the Spader character was actually quite good, not being the negative insensitive character here. Definitely worth viewing. 8/10.

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