The Party

Poster for The Party

After her hard-won ascent to the position of Shadow Health Minister, Janet’s (Kristin Scott Thomas; Suite Francaise, The Invisible Woman) plans for a quiet celebratory dinner with her close friends are dashed when unsavoury secrets and escalating emotional outbursts unveil long-held resentments and leave every­one’s future uncertain.

Fielding a barrage of congratulatory (and a few illicitly romantic) phone calls and prepar­ing for the arrival of her guests, Janet is caught up in the celebration of her new position and the promise of her bright political future. As her guests begin to arrive and her partner, Bill (Timothy Spall; Finding Your Feet, Mr Turner), seems unable to rouse himself from his near-catatonic state to do much more than put on a new record, the festive mood falters before the champagne has even been popped.

First to arrive is Janet’s long-time friend and former sister-in-arms April (Patricia Clarkson; One Day, Cairo Time) who can hardly contain her conflicting emo­tions, declaring democracy “finished” while also sincerely wishing her friend well and sneering disdainfully at her simultaneously new-age and old-fashioned partner Gottfried (Bruno Ganz, The Reader).

Meanwhile, Martha’s (Cherry Jones) arrival—and her ambivalence following her newly pregnant wife Jinny’s (Emily Mortimer; The Sense of an Ending, Hugo) announcement that the couple is expecting triplets—is quickly eclipsed by Tom’s (Cillian Murphy) erratic behaviour and conspicu­ously tardy wife, MaryAnn.

Tightly scripted and acerbically funny, maestro director Sally Potter (Ginger and Rosa, Orlando) flexes a new side of her auteurial prowess in creating a veritable pressure-cooker comedy showcase for a stellar international ensemble cast.

The Party is a short, sharp, funny shock of a movie; a theatrical drawing-room comedy which plays out in real time with elegance and dispatch, cantering up to a cheeky punch-line twist which leaves you laughing over the final credits.” (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian)

“It’s a film about pettiness couched in maturity, and a brilliantly merciless take on the comedy of manners.” (Andrew Crump, Paste Magazine)

The Party is breathlessly well shot—and, even better, in lustrous black and white. The look conveys an unspoken message: Even playing fools, these actors are pure class.” (David Edelstein, New York Magazine)