THE PARTY – A Review by Cynthia Flores

 
THE PARTY – A Review by Cynthia Flores
 
An intellectual feast of bitchiness with an all-star cast, and filmed in B&W with only seven people total in the film.  It has an interesting opening of an angry woman opening the front door holding a gun in our face.  I guess you could say it starts off with a bang!  Everything about this new film, The Party, is done with a wink, wink, to intellectuals and a push towards the end which explains this beginning.  So if you’re not into smart, biting humor that feels like it could have been workshopped on the stage then stop reading now.
 
The seven, fine, cast members in the film are Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas), a politician for the Opposition Party in England who has just been announced shadow minister for health.  She’s throwing a celebratory party at her apartment with her husband Bill (Timothy Spall).  They have invited her best friend, April (Patricia Clarkson), and her German husband, Gottfried (Bruno Ganz), who’s a life coach and spiritual healer.  Martha (Cherry Jones), who’s a women's studies professor and her partner Jenny (Emily Mortimer), who’s a cook and is also pregnant with three boys.  And of course they invited Marianne (who’s late and we never see), that was her right hand person on the campaign trail and her husband Tom (Cillian Murphy), who's a successful banker.
 
Once everyone is in place and Janet is happily sending texts to what is obviously a secret lover, the party gets started.  And by started, I mean Bill takes this time that everyone is raising a glass to toast to his wife’s success to announce that he has just been diagnosed with a terminal disease.  Everybody is floored so Janet declares that she will quit her post and take care of her husband to the very end because he's always been there for her.  Trouble is, Bill has decided because his life is so short that he wants to spend what's left of it with the woman he's in love with – the one he’s been having been having an affair with, that is. Everything goes to shit once he declares his intentions for Toms’ wife Marianne who is still running late to the party.
 
The dialogue for this film is tight and sharp and reflected in the shortness of the film.  It’s only an hour and eleven minutes long so there are no wasted words or filler.  As smart as this film is, it still has the feel and rhythm of a joke with a clever punch line.  Which is not a bad thing.  Everything builds to that punch line, so much so that I will not give it away here.  
So if you want to know why an angry Janet with a gun greets you at the door you will just have to go see The Party.  I give it a solid B Rating for cleverness and brevity.
 
 
Directed by Sally Potter
Written By Sally Potter, Walter Donohue
Rated R
Selig Rating B
Running Time 1hr 11min
Comedy/ Drama
Limited Release February 23rd Angelika Film Center Dallas & Plano
Starring: Timothy Spall, Kristin Scott Thomas, Patricia Clarkson, Bruno Ganz, Emily Mortimer, Cillian Murphy, Cherry Jones
 
 
 
The Selig Rating Scale:
 
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.
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