Long Overdue Movie Review: The Countess

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After months long of hiatus, I have come back with a fresh movie review!  Long story short- my beloved desktop died suddenly, and my inches-away-from-death laptop is not reliable for watching movies.  Being a poor college student, I could not afford a replacement until recently, but without further ado, here is my review for The Countess.

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If you have watched Hostel 2, you will have some sort of idea what this movie is about, because one of the torture scenes was based off of the tale.  If you consider this tidbit to ruin the movie for you, well, you’re missing out on a greatly disturbing film that awed me.  Even though the plot takes place centuries ago, it is still be a chilling reminder of today on the pressures that we put on ourselves as women.

The Countess, written, produced, and directed (along with starring) by French actress Julie Delpy, is based on the life of Hungarian countess Erzebet Bathory (before you Wiki her, please resist until the end of the review, haha).  Within the first few minutes, you’re already sympathic towards her, with how she taught about life.  Re-watching it for the review, I had to fast-forward through some scenes, because I was genuinely disturbed.

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Ms. Bathory married into a prestigeous family at the age of fifteen and it seemed like her life had gotten better.  She donated money to the Hungarian king on behalf of her and her husband, who was away at war fighting the Ottoman Empire, built a hospital for the ill and wounded, and was a great mother to their three children.

However, once she met with tragedy and found comfort with a younger man who was set for an arranged marriage, but she became consumed with youth- she was 39 to his 21.  The obsession became the downfall for an intelligent and fearless woman.

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I found this movie to be socially aware about today’s obsession with youth, and how people can not be happy as they are naturally.  Not only youth became a focal obsession, but power and greed as well.  They all brought out the worst in people, and innocents suffered by their vain hearts.  It’s a tale that can be echoed today, as we all strive for attention, love, self-worth, and control.

I thought this movie was beautifully done and was crafted with great care.  It easily could have turned into a jilted romantic tale, with Erzebet reacting purely out of rejection, but her actions also came from her poor upbringing and her faith.  She genuinely thought she was being led in the right direction, and kept that belief until the very end of her life.

If you enjoy historical films that are not of the norm, I highly recommend this.  Most historical films are polarizing; either you get romance or bloodshed, and this has a great balance of both.

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