Potter comes unstuck with this misbegotten romance charting a Jewish girl's journey from Russian oppression, through schooling in England, to arrival in Paris as a dancer just in time to greet Hitler's armies. Yet for all her totalitarian encounters, English schools seem to be the most perfidious of these traumas. Potter adopts a heightened melodramatic language for her own ends, but the movie comes off as patronising kitsch, with a plodding chronological narrative and caricatures instead of characters. Among a clutch of miscast stars, Turturro probably gets the worst of it as an arrogant Italian opera singer, and Depp wisely keeps his trap shut as the soulful gypsy who rides his horse down the Champs-Elysées. At least the musical score has a degree of sophistication.
Cast and crew
Harry Dean Stanton