The Countess

2011

The Countess

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User Ratings: 2,062
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Movie Info

Julie Delpy directs and stars in this biography of Erzebet Bathory, the 17th century countess whose love of a younger man drove her to madness and beyond. At the dawn of the 17th century, Countess Bathory was the most powerful woman in Hungary. At the age of 14, she married a powerful warlord twice her age and bore him four children. While her husband was away fighting wars, Countess Bathory maintained their estate with the help of her one true confidant, a powerful witch named Anna Darvulia. Over time, Countess Bathory's gained great influence, even holding sway over decisions made by the King. But she was unwilling to accept a world in which men were able to break the rules without consequence while women were expected to be unquestionably subservient, and after her husband died, Countess Bathory fell deeply in love with a young nobleman named Istvan (Daniel Brà 1/4hl), whom she encountered at a lavish feast. Istvan too was smitten, though his relationship with the countess was cut short when his father, Count Thurzo (William Hurt), forced him to break off the romance. Meanwhile, as Countess Bathory becomes obsessed with the prospect that age was a factor in the failure of the relationship, Count Thurzo begins crafting an elaborate plot against her. Eventually Countess Bathory's blinding sadness gives way to irreversible madness, and she becomes convinced that she can maintain her youth and beauty forever by bathing in the blood of virgins. Her dementia and obsession flowing like the virginal blood she bathes in every night, Countess Bathory eventually realizes that she has become the victim of a vast political conspiracy hatched by the father of her beloved. But by now it's already too late, Countess Erzebet Bathory's downfall had already been set into motion. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for The Countess

All Critics (2) | Top Critics (1) | Rotten (2)

  • Wacky tale of a woman who killed virgins for their blood to keep her skin wrinkle-free might get some traction in Central Europe, where it is set, but won't make it past the Europudding label elsewhere.

    Feb 11, 2009

    Boyd van Hoeij

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • A bizarre tale of a vampiric countess performed with stilted, faux-Shakespearean dialogue

    Jun 13, 2011 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Countess

  • Nov 09, 2014
    Despite its first-rate costume design and Erzsébet Báthory being such a fascinating subject, this flawed historical drama seems more like a soap opera that tries too hard to soften her image as someone broken-hearted by love but ends too ambiguous for us to care.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 05, 2013
    In "The Countess," the bad news is that Erzebet Bathory(Julie Delpy, who also wrote and directed) has been promised in marriage to Ferenc Nadasdy(Charly Hubner) since she was born. The good news is that they make a great team with him being the only competent military leader able to defeat the invading Turks while her business prowess makes them so wealthy that even King Matthias(Jesse Inman) borrows from them. But since this is the 1500's, sudden death is a fact of life which claims Ferenc. As a highly sought catch as a widow, Erzebet has more than her share of suitors like Gyorgy Thurzo(William Hurt) but rejects him. That does not mean she is willing to give up on sharing her bed as she takes the younger Istvan(Daniel Bruhl) as her lover. With the talky "The Countess," Julie Delpy does not show the same ability for historical dramas, what with the panoply of accents, that she has shown for detailing the emotional perils of the modern age in her other films. But she does pull off a neat narrative trick here by documenting how unreliable a narrator can be, especially from a second hand source, thus letting the viewer make up his mind as to what really happened, just as all the characters have already made up their minds beforehand. At the same time, we get to see how certain myths came into existence like vampires and Snow White.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 26, 2012
    This has to be the only and best direct biography film or close to it of real life female serial murderer of the most brutal and sadistic kind Elizabeth Bathory who legends say that she bathed in virgins blood, though that legend never made it to the big screen and many more unfortunately which could of made it horrifyingly powerful. Julie Delpy portrays Bathory with such coldness, strength and confidence that it gave me chills and she directed the film with ease and care leaving most to the imagination making you think the most darkest happenings and the story is so fascinating and terrifying that yes this did happen long ago in the 17th century that an aging countess got so desperate for youth that she murdered young virgins and drained them for their blood thinking something pure is in them to make her have a youthful glow or was it something more to her story? Her mystiqueness she took to her grave forever. The chilly atmoshere was effective and added to the doom and dread of the film but as a whole I really think they held back and played it safe and was quite capable at pulling out a much greater and powerful film about Elizabeth Bathory but this is just fine for now and just as bizarre as the fact and case. Overall I wasn't blown completely away by it but the commitment of Julie Delpy was impressionable and solid and I look forward to her next effort because I do think she is underrated as an actress and director. Recommended for at least one viewing. 6.5 out of 10
    Matt S Super Reviewer
  • Nov 05, 2011
    Despite a very interesting story. The Countess is an averagely acted film that seems a little fake and bland. It does teaches some history but still, not as good as I thought it would be.
    August S Super Reviewer

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