The Party (2017)


Cast includes: Kristin Scott Thomas (Gosford Park), Timothy Spall (The Damned United), Patricia Clarkson (Easy A), Bruo Ganz (Unknown), Cherry Jones (Ocean’s Twelve), Emily Mortimer (Lars and the Real Girl), Cillian Murphy (Inception)
Writer/Director: Sally Potter (Ginger & Rosa, The Tango Lesson)
Genre: Comedy | Drama (71 minutes)



The front door opens. Instead of a welcoming smile, Janet appears very upset as she raises the gun. The next scene takes us back to the beginning, a few hours earlier… Janet’s husband, Bill, puts a record on the turntable and sits back, letting the music… Bo Diddley’s “I’m a Man”… wash over him. Meanwhile, Janet is busy in the kitchen, making little pastry shells for the party when the phone rings. “We did it!” “I hope I can live up to it. It’s such a responsibility.” April is the first guest to arrive… “Congratulations! You’re a star, Janet.” She goes on to suggest, “Democracy is finished… in a post modern, post feminist way!” April seems prone to non-conformist ideation. Janet meanwhile struggles to keep up with a text message chain from an apparent lover, while concealing it from April. April’s soon-to-be ex-husband, Gottfried thinks Janet’s victory is a triumph. “Janet actually believes change is possible!” “Shut up, Gottfried.” April can’t take it any more… “This is our last supper,” she announces before the others arrive. So, who is Tom… besides being Marianne’s husband? “A Wanker… making money from other people's misfortune.” [Tom’s in finance.] “Bill seems depressed,” April notices. Surly not… it’s his victory, too. Janet couldn’t have done it without Bill.

Oh, here they are, except… “Marianne’s going to be delayed,” says Tom. “Extremely expensive suit,” April notices, as Tom goes straight to the lavatory for a cocaine fix and to check his gun. [Yes, gun.] “Congratulations!” It’s Martha and Jinny. They have an announcement. “It seems that we’re expecting,” says Martha… adding, “Not one baby; not two babies; but three.” “Is that a boast or a cry for help?” asks April dryly. “It’s the miracle of conception,” says Gottfried. “Shut up, Gottfried.” “Fuck you, April.” Not to be a wet blanket, but Bill has an announcement, too… “Looks like I’m done for… medically speaking… terminal diagnosis.” “Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.” “I’m gonna resign,” says Janet… “to support you after all these years.” Gottfried urges Bill not to give up… “Western medicine is voodoo!” But Bill has yet another surprise… “I’m leaving you, Janet.” He’s been having an affair, and in his darkest hours, he wants to be with the woman he really loves… Marianne. What! It seems the only person who saw this coming is Tom. Will he have the nerve to go through with his plan? Instead of boosting his resolve, the cocaine is making him really, really sweaty.

The lavatory suddenly becomes the busiest room in the house, as Tom needs another fix… and another… while Jinny needs another throw up… and another. “With child,” she says. “With children,” April points out. The Party is a delightful, quirky, dark comedy, set in the London flat of an academic couple. With the quick banter of all their so-called intellectual friends, the film feels much like a stage play. The dialog is witty and fast paced... the twists and turns are delightful and unexpected. It’s a fabulous cast, and the black and white cinematography is gorgeous. The music is fun, too. And by the way… “Babies get born every day… in extremely large numbers… at the point of endangering the planet and all our futures. It’s not everyday, however, that one of us becomes a minister in your entirely rotten and useless opposition party.” “Fuck you, April.”

popcorn rating

3 popped kernels

A celebratory dinner party turns tragic and chaotic and comical

Popcorn Profile

Rated: R (Language, Drugs)
Audience: Grown-ups
Gender Style: Neutral
Distribution: Art House
Mood: Upbeat
Tempo: Zips Right Along
Visual Style: Nicely Varnished Realism 
Nutshell: Intellectuals behaving badly
Language: Irreverent

Social Significance: Pure Entertainment

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