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  • 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".
  • 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!!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Warning: 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!
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Warning: 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.
  • 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.
  • Scarecrow-8827 December 2006
    Warning: Spoilers
    While I don't believe the end result for a second, this film will do whatever it takes to make us believe the relationship between 44 year old Nora Baker and 27 year old Max Baron can work. The age-gap isn't as difficult to accept as their ethnic and financial differences. Baron is a wealthy, successful Jewish business exec and Nora is a waitress at a hamburger joint. The film, though, with all it's might, tries to make us believe that, yes, they can still maintain a loving relationship despite all the certain trials that lie ahead. Both have had loss in their life, both find each other attractive, and when they are together the chemistry and passion is simply magnetic. It's the idea of who and what they are outside the personal relationship.

    Susan Sarandon's performance as the waitress is a winner because she shows her as fearless, dynamic, and flawed..but she doesn't ask for pity and accepts that life doesn't always deal everyone a great hand. She goes after the younger man, loves him, she is thankful he continues coming by her house to stay. That aggressiveness to go after what she wants without worrying about what others might say(..though, she is very vulnerable and doesn't have faith in the strength of the relationship lasting). Spader finally has a chance to portray a likable character who just wants to feel something again. With Nora, he has that joy and the stars are aligned.

    I will say that this film has lots of things going for it. The dialogue does allow Sarandon to expand her character beyond a cliché. You like her despite whatever faults you might see glaringly. Spader is able to expand into uncharted territory as a person we can care about instead of loathe. There's also a marvelous supporting cast which fill the film with color. But, startlingly, this film is also sexually passionate and pulls no punches showing the animal attraction these two have for each other.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It's often 3 things that make a movie: a story, interesting characters, and competent actors. One out of three ain't bad. Well, actually, one out of three is bad.

    The one thing this movie has going for it is good acting. James Spader has always been a competent actor, and as he has matured his acting has improved to the extent that he is one of the best on the small screen. Personally, I've never cared much for Susan Sarandon, but that's not to say I don't think she's a talented actress. She is. I just don't often like the films she appears in. She does nicely here. There are some good performances (though not much screen time) by supporting actors -- Jason Alexander, Kathy Bates, and Eileen Brennan (perhaps the best characterization in the film). Most of the rest of the actors here play rather stereotypical Jewish Jewish people are portrayed in almost every other film; not very imaginative.

    The main characters here? Well, for me, relatively unlikable. People I would have no desire to associate with. So, where is the connection.

    The story. Not really anything unique at all. Boy meets girl from different class and different age. Will their relationship survive? Ever heard that one before? Sorry, but the good acting wasn't enough to "save" this movie for me.
  • I can't help saying: this movie has the best erotic scene of cinema forever!.. I have never seen anything like this. It's done so emotionally, hotly, touchingly..! Spader/Sarandon's pairing here is absolutely amazing.. Everyone is writing here about excellent acting of Susan Sarandon here, I agree, but I want to say about James Spader. In this movie his performing is brilliant, he looks very convincingly in the role of young Jewish guy, white-collar worker, who is trying to cope with the loss of his beloved wife. The scene when Nora is "attacking" him in a bar is filmed so carefully.. There isn't any superfluous movement, any false look.. Everything is perfect. And then, at Nora's place, first he looks so vulnerable and so protected at the same time.. And it's so hot to watch how he is giving in gradually. I regret that young James Spader hadn't been filmed enough by really good directors and in the pairings with really high-class actresses, like here, in "White palace". I think cinema hasn't realized completely his fantastic potential. I strongly recommend this movie for everyone who likes good psychological drama with very good erotic scenes..
  • It's not the age difference that's the issue here; this is a movie about the arbitrariness of attraction. The two protagonists seem to have nothing in common, except a deep sense of personal loss. They are worlds apart. Men and women often fall in love without a reason, or at least a reason that others can understand. It may be inexplicable, ridiculous, unbelievable, outrageous- whatever. It happens!

    The only flaws of this virtually unknown film are the awful music/sound design and the terribly clichéd ending. Sarandon is at her best, while James Spader is unforgettable as always. All in all, a very underrated movie, with fine acting as its main strength.
  • i read the reviews of loved and hated this film, and as you can guess i am on of the ones that have loved it. I can understand that people find the story implausible, because of the age difference and the social and cultural differences of the love story. i suppose having been in a few love across the divide love stories myself i identify and understand the motivations of the two characters and what the director is trying to say. Both James Spader and Susan Sarrandon are lost in the film, James had lost his lover and all meaning in his life, and Susan has lost her son, and her self respect and is being self destructive to herself. She has a truth which she teaches him on their first meeting, where she accurately reads him, and shows him how to let go and have a good time and have contact. The original sex scene which some people hate in the reviews is my all time favourite. If the sexes were reversed it would verge on rape, but because it is female on male it doesn't feel that way. the way she holds him down catches him unawares and drags him into this sexual and emotional awakening is what makes it so electrifying for me. James spader's night after rejection of her rings true, and for most people it would end there....but he goes on and they really learn off each other...maybe as i have found in real life it would end, but i think that love is about two people coming together having contact being together loving and learning from each other.

    So may people that i see staying together in so called sensible compatible marriages don't have what you see these two having together for however long.......
  • tommykins-112 February 2006
    "White Palace" is one of my favorite movies, and I am amazed at the negative comments about Susan Sarandon's armpits. They clearly are part of her character, and she is to be commended for going to the extra effort to fit herself into the part (exactly as Demi Moore did in "We're No Angels"). Gillette created the woman-shaving fad in the 1930's as a successful effort to double their razor sales. Then in the late 60's, young women stopped wearing makeup and stopped shaving as part of "the natural look." In the early 1970's, the cosmetic companies unleashed a media blitz to get women away from this natural look.

    They were successful, and heavy makeup (even cartoonish) and shaving became a fad again. The current advertising in the U.S. is designed to make women feel insecure and unattractive. Then it tells them they can be acceptable and beautiful if they wear the latest (and most expensive) gunk, and scrape off every bit of body hair below their eyebrows. Women have completely bought into it. Personally, I like women to look natural and not wear thick makeup (or any, in fact); I feel that they are much prettier without it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A great film which I recently caught up with again on TV. The performances by Susan Sarandon and James Spader were top-rate which made their respective characters quite believable. It always makes me wonder why such gems of acting (among many others that one could think about) never appear in the Oscar nomination lists.

    However, one minor caveat. When you watch it again for the nth time, look out for the left front headlamp of "Max's" Volvo which he smashed up against "Nora's" outside post-box at the beginning of the film. Halfway through it appears to have been repaired, only to reappear after that in its early damaged state.

    Definitely one to watch again.
  • We're (justifiably) a little (or a lot) disgusted when a film blatantly panders to creepy old men: middle aged protagonist scores hot woman in her early 20s. Ew.

    That's exactly what we're looking at here, except with swapped genders and an extra layer of obnoxiousness. Susan Sarandon and James Spader are excellent actors, and their performances *almost* save it from the source material.

    Almost. I would have a hard time believing that ANY self respecting guy would put up with being treated like Sarandon's character treats Spader's. We're supposed to look at her as noble but unrefined, but honestly, she's just selfish, childish and manipulative. There's no sense that Spader's character has anything to learn from this experience, outside of how shallow his friends are. He could have learned that with any "unacceptable" woman: making the woman in question genuinely unappealing is silly.

    When you add the younger man/older woman aspect to it, the movie gets downright creepy. We're clearly expected to think that Spader's character has come down to Earth and recognized what's really important, but the only thing the movie proves is that (maybe) he's a masochist in search of a sadist. If you removed Sarandon's character's difference in age, coarse language, and casual racism, you'd still have someone I wouldn't want to be in the room with: I'd have a difficult time believing that Spader would tolerate her character if if she were a hot 19 year old. If she HAD been a hot 19 year old, you could keep everything else and she'd be the spoiled child that the hero got AWAY from, not the one he runs TO.

    There are only two explanations that make any kind of sense. One, the film wants to bash poor, middle aged women (no.) Two, it wants to feed a middle aged, female audience the same kind of obnoxious wish fulfillment that middle aged male audiences get with the four decade age difference between Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones in Entrapment. It's creepy there, and it's creepy here.

    Every aspect of this film is based on seeing Sarandon's character's world as preferable to Spader's, and it absolutely is not...not because of disrespect to older women, poor women, or unrefined women, but because she's simply irritating. The fact that there is a 20 year disparity to Entrapment's 40 says more about Hollywood's tolerance of old men than it does about its condescension towards older women: this movie screws up so badly that in some scenes the shallow rich people are considerably more sympathetic than the "earthy" heroine.

    I suppose that middle aged women are every bit as entitled to wish fulfillment as middle aged men, but creepy is creepy. When you spend more time thinking about the film's target audience than you do about the film, it's a failure (just like Entrapment, actually.)
  • joy31412 November 2005
    Am I missing something here? A trashy 40-something waitress picks up a cute, drunk younger man in a bar. She takes him home, basically rapes him, ( I know, I know....he seemed to be enjoying it, didn't he?) and then all of a sudden he can't do without her? I'm not buying it. There is not one word - not one line - not one shred of respect, admiration, fondness, or friendship between them. There is not one scene that convinces you that they really are compatible in any way. You get the feeling he doesn't even LIKE her very much. They have great sex - no question. But this is supposed to be the basis of a life-changing relationship for him? It is so totally unbelievable. I like Susan Sarandon and I like James Spader. But they should have gone back to the drawing board on this one before they ever released it. The older woman/younger man story is great. But let's get some better dialog and at least a couple of scenes to convince us that there might be a real relationship here.
  • GOWBTW21 December 2006
    Who says love has to be a certain way? This movie doesn't. "White Palace" is a very moving and sexually energetic movie that shows you can be happy in your own way. Max(James Spader) is an executive in advertising who was brought down by the death of his wife. After a raucous bachelor party, he goes to a bar on the wrong side of town, and there he meets Nora(Susan Sarandon), a worker at White Palace, who refunded Max earlier, asks him what he's doing at this place. Both go home smashed, but as Max dreams of his wife, Nora makes her move on him. Man, she's 43, and he's a 27-year-old yuppie. The sex gets good there. Both of them feel alive, and the tension start to mount. His friends want him to be happy, but Max wants to be happy in his way. His friend at the bachelor party Neil(Jason Alexander), wants to set him up with some that had the hots for Max. He declined. His friend's wife will do anything to play matchmaker. Playing matchmaker will either bring happiness, or cause misery. Neil, his wife and all of Max's friends needed to learn one thing, is to mind their own businesses. Those folks need to stop running people's lives. If it haven't been Nora's sister Judy(Eileen Brennan), those two wouldn't been any happier. I enjoyed this movie very well, it was close to "A Tiger's Tale", only more intense. Rating 3.5 out of 5 stars!
  • In this movie, the powerful Susan Sarandon plays a waitress at this cheesy little hamburger joint and gets hooked up with James Spader, a clueless rich guy who is controlled by the combination of his weak will and his overbearing parents. Spader is fine, but he's been better many times. The movie is fine and sort of a realistic version of Pretty Woman. Jason Alexander and Kathy Bates are fine. But who really cares about any of this?

    The real reason to see this movie is that, while sleeping next to Spader, Sarandon wakes up in the middle of the night and decides to seduce him. She strips off her top, revealing an amazing body that is both non-Hollywood and incredibly sexual and womanly, and then proceeds to perform acts on Spader that are still illegal in certain Southern states. She is both in control and incredibly vulnerable. She is a sexual powerhouse who is desperate for love. She is secure in the strength and power of her body, while totally longing for love and security to be returned. And she looks great naked. Yes she does.

    I must say that since watching this movie at its original release, I have had a steady stream of impure thoughts about Susan Sarandon. I know she's a mom, a political activist, the lifelong partner of Tim Robbins and probably pushing 50, but holy smokes, I sure wish she'd make another film like this and show us again what it means to be truly sexy.

    Yikes. I think it's time to rent The Hunger again.
  • This movie is interesting to watch if not particularly original. At its core is the relationship of a young man (Max, played by Spader) of high social standing with a poor, much older woman (Nora, played by Sarandon). Both of them have experienced loss (his wife died & her son died), and they waste their lives in self pity and mourning, not being able to let go. Being in a similar situation, they recognize each other for what they are and after a chance encounter develop a firstly sexual and then increasingly romantic relationship. But problems arise for them, because of the social and age differences, which are the main twists in the romance.

    The White Palace is a basically a simple love story, with above average acting (Sarandon and Spader both have their high and low points) and moderately interesting characters. I gave it six stars, but in a good way, since the movie does well what it attempts to do, which is good, romantic entertainment without breaking new ground.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I really like the fact Susan Sarandon and James Spader teamed up together because they did make a good fine couple. I liked the fact they had steamy sex scene's, it reminds us regardless of age, you will always find love.

    Now the reason why I gave this movie a 7/10 because, I didn't like how Sarandon's character Nora, was being a complete smart *** and just a slob. I would rather see the personality more calmer and more smarter, Sarandon should've been better off if she did act that way for the film!

    Apart from that complaint, it was an alright movie!
  • rzajac26 January 2016
    Not a perfect flick, but certainly above average. Just a lovely, believable story of boy-girl love transcending class.

    Good production; crisp writing; good direction and actors who can follow that direction, and then some.

    The only remonstrance I have is offset by the simplicity of the straight-up story, as it stands: The basic scenario is pretty simple, and I don't consider it a "spoiler" to outline it here: Professional man suffering from personal love-loss meets working class gal 16(?) years his senior. They fall in love. She feels the tension that her class imposes on his social milieu. She splits. He chases her down and takes his class down a notch in a show of good faith. She accepts him back into her life. Happy ending!

    OK? Simple enough for you? But the saving grace of the flick is that as it proceeds, the writing, direction, and acting are so very strong, that they bear the viewer along like a surging river.

    So: Check it out.
  • SnoopyStyle5 November 2015
    Max Baron (James Spader) is a successful ad executive in St. Louis. His wife Janey (Maria Pitillo) was killed in a car accident two years ago. He buys 50 burgers from White Palace (White Castle refused to give permission) for his friend Neil (Jason Alexander)'s bachelor party and discovers six empty boxes. He berates Nora Baker (Susan Sarandon) and gets his refund. Later at a bar, Max finds common suffering with Nora who lost her son to leukemia. They start an affair based on their shared losses despite their differences.

    These are two good performances from great actors of interesting damaged people. The bulk of the interest probably comes from the age difference. For me, more of the interest comes from these sad lives. I would have liked a bit more Sarandon. The hardness of their chemistry is terrific.
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