Be prepared for a completely dysfunctional evening as the Vernon Film Society presents The Party April 23 as Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas, 4 Weddings and a Funeral) throws a party to celebrate her long-awaited post as Shadow Minister for Health in Britain’s opposition party. She hopes this new position will be a stepping stone to party leadership.
Writer-director Sally Potter (Orlando), whose films have long addressed gender identity, political commitment, feminism, and capitalism, brings us a new and powerful film.
Janet, the hostess, opens the door to a succession of guests including Martha (Cherry Jones) and her partner (Emily Mortimer) who has just discovered she is pregnant with triplets; Janet’s closest friend, scene-stealer April (Patricia Clarkson) and her partner Gottfried (Bruno Ganz) who speaks in clichés; and late-comer Tom (Cillian Murphy) called a ‘wanker-banker’ by April. Overseeing this odd mix of characters is Janet’s husband Bill (Timothy Spall) who drinks wine and spins jazz vinyl albums when not staring vacantly into space.
As sarcastic words are traded, political observations made, festering secrets revealed, and personal revelations dropped, whatever is in the kitchen’s oven begins to burn, escalating tensions even more in this perfect domestic war-zone. Undoubtedly, after this night, things will never be the same again.
“Shot in a velvety widescreen black-and-white, performed with utmost commitment by its unimpeachable cast, it’s by my lights the first must-see movie of 2018,” wrote Glenn Kenny of rogerebert.com.
The Party will screen April 23 at the Vernon Towne Cinema at the regular times of 5:15 and 7:45 p.m. Tickets are available one week ahead at the theatre and the Bean Scene Coffee House for $7. Cash only. Rated PG.