As the cousin to Czar Nicholas II, Zoya Konstantinovna Ossupov (Melissa Gilbert) has had not only a sheltered life but one of privilege. But it is a life which is taken from her when along with her grandmother Evgenia (Diana Rigg) they flee Russia for Paris, France due to the Russian revolution. With no money Zoya against her grandmother's wished finds work as a ballet dancer where again against her grandmother's wishes meets and falls for American GI Clayton Andrews (Bruce Boxleitner). Following WWI they marry and head to America where Zoya's journey through life is dealt many blows as she has to deal with the Great Depression and a Second World War as well as meeting a wealthy business magnate.
I am going to split up this review of "Zoya" into three parts starting with the typical because if you didn't know already "Zoya" is an adaptation of a Danielle Steel novel which was originally made as a two part mini-series. Now for those who have never watched one of these Danielle Steel productions before there is a kind of formula to the stories as we follow a woman on her journey through life which is like a rollercoaster ride of joys and heartaches. "Zoya" is no different as we follow this Russian aristocrat on a journey which takes her from privilege to being penniless and through falling in love. For those who love these sorts of romantic fairytales it will be a joy but for those more cynical it will be corny, there is no middle ground here.
Now the other thing you expect from a Danielle Steel movie/ mini-series is a big production and "Zoya" is no different. No it may not have the detail and camera work of a big budget, big screen movie but it does have a semi-impressive look. As to how accurate that is I have no idea as I am no historian although going on gut instincts I would say the authenticity is minimal with Steel using the back drop of the Russian Revolution as the vehicle for one of her familiar romantic fairytales.
And then there is the acting and firstly both Diana Rigg and Don Henderson are good in supporting roles but the star of "Zoya" is Melissa Gilbert who whilst delivering a good performance works more because she is so likeable. In fairness in the early scenes Gilbert brings to the screen the carefree abandon of a young woman born in to privilege but as the drama really starts the script lets her down with it frequently being a case of looking a certain way at a specific moment of drama. There is also the fact that at the time Melissa Gilbert and Bruce Boxleitner were a couple in real life which means the scenes they share together have believable chemistry.
What this all boils down to is that "Zoya" is a typical Danielle Steel TV Movie/ mini-series with its impressive production, romantic rollercoaster and plenty of melodrama. It isn't for everyone and in truth you either need to love Danielle Steel movies or be a big fan of Melissa Gilbert to really enjoy it.
Tags: Danielle Steel Movies