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A movie directed by Luis Mandoki

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White Palace ~ A lusty slice of life

  • Oct 16, 2000
Pros: .

Cons: .

When does love become an obsession or an obsession become love? James Spader plays the rich, successful, Jewish college grad - Susan Sarandon the waitress from the other side of the tracks. On his way to a bachelor party for his friend, Jason Alexander, Spader stops in the White Palace, a local hamburger joint (similar to White Castle) to get refreshments for the party. There he meets Sarandon, brass, bossy and a whole lot sexy.

After a perfectly horrible time at the party, where he views old movies that show his wife that was killed in an automobile accident, he stops at a local bar and finds Sarandon knee deep in an alcoholic haze. They share a few drinks - well a lot of drinks - and Spader ends up spending the night on Sarandon's sofa, which culminates in an erotic scene the next morning.

As things go, Spader becomes enthralled with Sarandon - as he says, he can't think of any other woman when he is not with her and cannot think of any thing else when he is. Unfortunately, the specter of his wife interferes with their relationship, as does his inability to bring her to his ‘side of town' to meet his more influential friends. During their relationship, he meets her sister, Eileen Brennan, who is a ‘seer' and tells Spader the life story of Sarandon and tells him he sees their love as all encompassing. That is absolutely all I am giving you on this one!

The Actors and Their Roles
James Spader is fresh and young in this production. It is totally believable to see him in these circumstances but highly unlikely that he would travel to that side of the tracks and live the life that Sarandon does. His house is pristine, his job perfection, his mannerisms so highly evolved that I had a hard time believing that he would join Sarandon in her home. He's a three-piece suit in a beer bottle world. But oh darling, love is truly blind and we are often able to forget who we are and what we want.

Susan Sarandon is probably 20 years his senior in this movie. She is so wantingly painful, so desirable, so dependent, so unbearably alone. She is also a brassy, unkept, sloppy, sexual person. She is everything Spader isn't and everything he wants. My heart broke for her when they attended the family soiree for Thanksgiving dinner in her trampy sweater and cheap shoes. Her acting is above par in this release, I found no fault with anything she did.

Jason Alexander had hair! And he will always be George Castanza no matter what he tries, what a burden! Eileen Brennan is loveable as always, she is just so darn eclectic. Kathy Bates has a few short scenes as Spaders boss, friend and confidante.

This movie is probably the most highly sexual movie I have seen for years, matching 9-1/2 Weeks in its' pure wantoness. And it isn't just the love scenes between Spader and Sarandon that I am speaking of, but the adoration and completeness of that love. Ok, guys, I know you will probably shy away, this is a fairly chick flick movie, but I know somewhere deep inside all of us there hides that clean cut boy looking in the windows on the wrong side of town.

Visit the White Palace, add a little spice to your life!

p.s. See gagirl40s comment on the dustbuster...I totally forgot about it and it was a priceless scene!


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Susi Dawson ()
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About this movie


An offbeat romance is sparked when an advertising executive mourning the death of his wife has a late-night encounter with a fiercely independent woman who works in a hamburger joint, lives on the wrong side of town and is at least 15 years his senior.
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Cast: Rachel Levin
Director: Luis Mandoki
Release Date: 1990
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: Third Coast Entertainment, Ltd. (March 02, 1999)
Runtime: 1hr 43min
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