The Party – film review

I went to see this film by complete coincidence. It was the second film on a New Year’s Eve film screening (the first was The Big Sick), and I had not heard of it at all before then.

The Party is a black comedy directed by Sally Potter, (who apparently also directed a film version of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando – another film I was completely unaware existed). It is filmed in black and white – the entire action takes place in one house. Janet is holding a small party to celebrate her appointment as the shadow minister of health in the British government. But she is blissfully unaware that her husband has chosen that very evening to make an announcement…

The cast is limited to seven people, and Kristin Scott Thomas plays the lead. The supporting cast is excellent, although a special mention must go Patricia Clarkson – who plays Janet’s cynical and beautiful friend, April. She is stunning. Just watching these two women on screen is enough makes you furious at the scarcity of Hollywood roles for women past the age of fourty-five. They are fabulous.

The film is very British in some of its jokes and some knowledge of the British upper-middle-class provides a useful context.

Here’s the trailer.

The intimate, almost claustrophobic, atmosphere of the film reminds one of a stage play – I was reminded of the film adaptation of the stage- play Carnage by Roman Polański, another film in which the pretty façade of middle-class life is ripped to shreds. Some of its humour is of the kind that might leave you in tears (not of laughter, either). I enjoyed it a lot, to the slight astonishment of the person I watched it with, who didn’t think much of it.

Have you seen it? What did you think?

Image source: Wikipedia (review purposes only)

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