3-4. Hits some speed bumps on the way to its conclusion, such as Ninotchka's rapid transition, and the conflict gap present when Ninotchka returns to Russia. Otherwise, it's a fairly sparkling romantic comedy centered on an amusingly brassy title character. Those points aside, there's a lot of striking political double talk scattered throughout the movie. Any burgeoning screenwriter could afford to take notes.
I'm not a huge fan of this movie. I think it is rather obvious but Garbo is special. She was on her way to developing the most quietly beautiful performing style. In this film, as in "Camille," she has a light touch yet she is deeply emotional. I ache for the lost opportunities.
My favorite Garbo performance yet, Lubitsch's satire is the perfect mix of political intrigue, rom-com, & class struggle. The 1st surprise is the script, that's hilarious, critical of both sides of Russia, and earns it's sweeping conclusion. The 2nd surprise is Garbo, who sells her deadpan delivery & the eventual conflict insider her. Finally is Lubitsch, who could've played it safe but balanced everything perfectly.
After the disaster that was Garbo's over the top character in Grand Hotel, I like her portrayal of the stern Russian woman a lot more. Unfortunately, despite the funny moments I didn't much care about the second act or the whole transformation from a Russian to an American. The sparks are also barely visible between the main couple.