The Party (2017), written and directed by Sally Potter, is a dark delicious steaming comedy where celebration meets existential angst and misery.
It’s the story of Janet’s party. Janet hosts an intimate group of friends to celebrate a milestone event which quickly unravels and all hell breaks loose.
Potter weaves together many visual elements to create an intriguing film. Potter juxtaposes the narrative of the party against the simmering tensions amongst the characters and their revelations to create dramatic tension that moves the film. Close ups and medium angle shots are interspersed with wide angle shots. The film is beautifully shot in black and white, giving the film a richness and complexity, which helps to focus your attention on the superb acting and dialogue and the content of the film without the distraction of color. The characters are beautifully lit, and Patricia Clarkson never looked more gorgeous, sensuous, and beautiful. And Potter has chosen to end her film in a cliffhanger leaving me wanting more and hoping that a sequel is in the works.
It is a marvelous film made up of a stellar cast where each of the seven characters is allowed to shine and play complex scenes. Kristin Scott Thomas plays Janet, the middle-aged hostess, a plain “Jane”, who is a member of parliament. Timothy Spall plays her philandering academic husband Bill. Cherry Jones plays Martha, an academic and Bill’s long-time friend. Emily Mortimer plays Jinny, Martha’s spouse. Patricia Clarkson plays April, Janet’s glamorous best friend with a loose tongue. Bruno Ganz plays April’s spouse, Gottfried, a life coach, aromatherapist and healer. Cillian Murphy plays Tom, a successful businessman, whose wife Marianne is Bill’s former student, and Janet’s colleague.
The film resonated with me on a personal level posing important existential questions such as the transitory nature of life, the meaning of life, the impermanence of life, realism, faith, and karma. I thought The Party one of the best philosophical movies I have ever seen and highly recommend it for the superb acting and dialogue.
Elevation Pictures releases The Party in Toronto on Friday, March 2, 2018