The Party (2017)

The Party
Director: Sally Potter
Writer: Sally Potter
Cast: Timothy SpallKristin Scott ThomasPatricia ClarksonBruno GanzCherry JonesEmily MortimerCillian Murphy
Seen on: 1.8.2017

Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas) was just appointed shadow minister of health, and she wants to celebrate. So she and her supportive husband Bill (Timothy Spall) have invited their closest friends. But despite the joyous occasion, things are tense. It’s not only the bickering of no-nonsense April (Patricia Clarkson) and her spiritual husband Gottfried (Bruno Ganz), or of butch Martha (Cherry Jones) and her pregnant partner Jinny (Emily Mortimer), or the appearance of the slimy and obviously distraught Tom (Cillian Murphy): Bill has been keeping a secret, and he can’t keep it any longer.

The Party is filled with dark and biting humor, delivered by a fantastic cast. It should be great, but somehow it doesn’t quite work out that way.

The script of the film is a scathing critique of certain tendencies on the left end of the political spectrum, but it didn’t feel like a conservative critique of left-leaning people, but rather a reflection from inside left politics of things that are not heading in the right direction. Whether you agree with that take on the left and its issues (and I didn’t always), it’s definitely funny and well-delivered.

The characters are, of course, a little hyperbolic. It must have been delicious for the cast to bite into these characters and bring them to life. It certainly felt like they had fun – and there was not a weak performance among them.

That being said, for whatever reason, the film felt much longer than it actually was. It only runs at about 70 minutes, but it doesn’t feel like a particularly short film. At the same time, I didn’t appreciate the ending of the film because it goes nowhere. It ends with a twist – a twist I actually quite liked – but it should have taken the extra 10 minutes to really finish things.

I definitely enjoyed The Party, but I feel like it had all the right ingredients to work even better than it did – and I don’t understand why it didn’t really take off for me.

Summarizing: Worth seeing.

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