By Jeffrey Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Smart but shrill ensemble dramedy has mature content.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
No real messages other than "trust no one." Characters are nasty to one another, with no real redemption.
Positive Role Models
Characters are almost uniformly selfish and abrasive, with the possible exception of a "spiritual healer" character; he's kind and calm, but he's also typically responds with platitudes, rather than actually listening. Lots of betrayal. On the slim plus side, Janet is a woman who's been elected to a powerful position.
Violence & Scariness
A gun is drawn and brandished but not fired. A character is punched in the face and collapses; he appears dead. Frequent, passionate arguing. Broken glass; bit of glass stuck in character's leg. Some blood shown. A woman slaps a man.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two characters who are married are said to be having affairs with others. Discussion of the dynamics of relationships.
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Several uses of "f--k," plus "s--t," "bastard," "wanker," "shut up," and "good God."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A supporting character snorts cocaine more than once. Social drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Party is a dark ensemble dramedy in which seven characters gather for a dinner party, where a great deal of arguing and nastiness ensues. Teens aren't likely to be interested, but adults with a very specific sense of humor may enjoy it. In addition to all of the yelling and verbal sparring, a gun is drawn (though not fired), a character is punched and knocked unconscious, broken glass cuts into someone's skin, a woman slaps a man, and some blood is shown. Married characters are said to be having affairs with others. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "bastard," and more. A supporting character uses cocaine on more than one occasion; social drinking is shown. Kristin Scott Thomas, Patricia Clarkson, Cherry Jones, and Timothy Spall co-star.
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Based on 1 parent review
Aged like a Bitter Wine.
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What's the Story?
In THE PARTY, Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas) is planning a get-together to celebrate her ascension to minister for health. While she prepares food and secretly texts with a mysterious, illicit lover, her husband, Bill (Timothy Spall), drinks wine and absently listens to records. Guests begin to arrive, including the cynical April (Patricia Clarkson) and her partner, the calm spiritual healer Gottfried (Bruno Ganz); pregnant Jinny (Emily Mortimer) and her partner, Martha (Cherry Jones); and finally Tom (Cillian Murphy), who's amped up on cocaine and carrying a gun. Much arguing and revealing of secrets ensues -- until one angry partyer gets ahold of Tom's gun.
Is It Any Good?
This playlike dramedy is sharp and good-looking (in black and white), but it's also shrill and aggressive, hurling nasty, witty barbs at the speed of suffering; it's smart without being thoughtful. The humor in The Party seems to be based on subtle differences in political preferences, though the movie does little to explain or describe these differences. What remains is a collection of selfish, repellent behaviors. (Only Ganz' "healer" character seems kind and calm, but even he tends to respond to others with platitudes, rather than actually listening.)
The Party recalls Beatriz at Dinner, a movie that did take time out to explore its characters' personal and political motivations. That film came up with a more interesting clash, although, to be fair, The Party has a much more concise, ironic, and satisfying ending. It runs only 71 minutes, which is refreshing, but perhaps it could have been longer, adding some silences and moments to explore and reflect? It's a disappointment, coming from talented English director Sally Potter (Orlando, The Man Who Cried, Ginger & Rosa), who likes to take risks but whose movies are usually more involving.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about The Party's use of violence. How much is physical violence, and how much is psychological? Which seems to hurt the characters more?
How are drinking and drug use depicted? Is any of the use extreme or out-of-control? Are there consequences? Why does that matter?
What are the movie's themes? What do you think it's really about? What is it saying about these people -- or about all of us?
How does the movie's use of black-and-white help or hinder it?
- In theaters: February 16, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: May 22, 2018
- Cast: Kristin Scott Thomas, Patricia Clarkson, Cherry Jones
- Director: Sally Potter
- Studio: Roadside Attractions
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 71 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language and drug use
- Last updated: March 28, 2023
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