Review: Everybody Knows (Todos lo saben)

Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem

Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem star in Everybody Knows (Todos lo saben). With that kind of star power, I thought I’d give it a try. It was solidly average, but good enough to watch all the way through.

Everybody Knows (Todos lo saben) was too long. It was full of secrets so hidden that even at the end of the film they weren’t clear.

Laura (Cruz) arrives in her home in Spain. She’s come from Argentina with her teenage daughter Irene (Carla Campra) and her young son Diego (Iván Chavero) to attend a family wedding. Her husband Alejandro (Ricardo Darín) stayed in Argentina.

Carla Campra in Everybody Knows (Todos lo saben)
Irene sneaks away from the party with a boy, but that’s not where her trouble began.

Laura’s sister Ana (Inma Cuesta), her parents, cousins, aunts, uncles and a large extended family are all there. The wedding is a joyous occasion with dancing and drinking and joy.

Laura’s old boyfriend Paco (Javier Bardem) and his wife Bea (Bárbara Lennie) are at wedding. Paco takes a major role in the action that follows. Before the wedding night is over, Irene disappears. A text is sent to Laura (and Bea!) indicating she was kidnapped.

Because a girl from the village was kidnapped years earlier and killed when the police became involved, the decision was not to call the police.

The remainder of the story is how everyone reacts to the kidnapping. Secrets long hidden come out as tensions increase. Alejandro arrives from Argentina. Paco is in the middle of everything.

Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, Ricardo Darín, and Eduard Fernández in Everybody Knows
Paco, Fernando (Eduard Fernández), Alejandro and Laura talk about the best way to find Irene.

The kidnapping must have been done by someone close to Irene. That makes suspicions run high. No police are involved, but a retired policeman who is a friend of the family offers advice. They decide to pay the ransom, a decision which destroys several lives. There are secrets involved in that decision, too.

The performances were veiled and meant to keep secrets. Penélope Cruz, however, went overboard in a couple of scenes. I believe it’s called “chewing the scenery.”

Everybody Knows (Todos lo saben) was written and directed by Asghar Farhadi. The direction was well done, but I thought the writing could benefit from a dose of editing. I can’t top this judgement from a Rolling Stone reviewer of this film said, “Don’t hold this against Farhadi. Everybody knows he’s capable of doing a lot better.”

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Everybody Knows poster

Watch the Trailer

In case it isn’t clear from the trailer, the film is in Spanish. You can see this family drama on Netflix.

Have you seen Everybody Knows (Todos lo saben)? What did you think of it?

3 thoughts on “Review: Everybody Knows (Todos lo saben)”

  1. Torben Retboll

    I tried to watch this movie. But after ca 30 minutes I had to give up.

    All the female characters look alike. All the male characters look alike. It is difficult or impossible to find out who is who and how they are related to each other. It is simply total confusion.

    I realize that some of the actors in this movie are famous stars. But in my opinion this is not enough to save it.

    If you ask me, I will say: do not waste your time with this movie.

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