Review: The Party

Kristin Scott Thomas in The Party

The Party brings a dysfunctional collection of people who know each other’s secrets into the same room. It’s a wild and wonderful thing to watch.

Everything about The Party is slightly off-kilter. It’s in black and white. The camera angles are unusual. There’s a lot of earnest conversation and not much action.

The cast is small. The entire story takes a mere 71 minutes. The set is limited to a small house and back yard. It would be a perfect production for a community theater group.

As written and directed by Sally Potter, the film is intimate and fast-paced.

Timothy Spall in The Party
Bill is a deer in the headlights

Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas) has just been elected a minister of the opposition Party. She’ll be in charge of Health. She and her husband Bill (Timothy Spall) invited a few friends over to celebrate. She’s in the kitchen preparing food and answering a series of phone calls – some of them obviously from a lover. Bill’s putting blues albums on the turntable. He looks nearly comatose.

Kristin Scott Thomas and Patricia Clarkson in The Party
Is murder an option?

April (Patricia Clarkson) and Gottfried (Bruno Ganz) arrive. She’s a cynical “realist” who tells Gottfried to shut up every time he says something. He’s a healer and life-coach.

Cillian Murphy in The Party
Bringing a gun to a party isn’t the best idea

Tom (Cillian Murphy) arrives. He’s ridiculously handsome in an expensive suit. He makes elaborate excuses for why his wife Marianne will be late. We never see Marianne, but she’s a crucially important character. Tom snorts cocaine in the bathroom and has a gun under his arm.

Martha (Cherry Jones) and Jinny (Emily Mortimer) arrive separately. Jinny’s excited by the blockbuster news that she and Martha are expecting triplets. Martha looks gobsmacked by the thought of triplets – possibly just one child was more than she really wanted.

Events are strange, and then they get stranger. People learn secrets, get violent, vomiting occurs, the canapés burn, and the gun ends up in the wrong hands. I’m sorry to say I saw the big reveal at the end coming very early in the film, but it was still fun when it happened. I hope you’ll be surprised by it.

The 2017 film is available from Prime Video and a couple of other streamers.

Because of an article at Directed by Women, and a tweet from @gingesbecray, I was convinced to watch The Party. Thank you both for the good suggestion.

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Poster for The Party

Watch the trailer for The Party

Have you see this film? What did you think of it?

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