Written review re-posted from: The Party – A Barbaric Battle of Civilized Savages (Guest Review)

A comedy of tragic proportions.

DIRECTED BY: Sally Potter
WRITTEN BY: Sally Potter
STARRING: Krstin Scott Thomas, Timothy Spall and Patricia Clarkson

SYNOPSIS: Janet hosts a party to celebrate her new promotion, but once the guests arrive it becomes clear that not everything is going to go down as smoothly as the red wine. (IMDB)



Within the first few minutes of this film, Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas) opens a door and shakily points a gun at the camera which cuts to black over a slow solemn score as the title credits roll. I can already tell what type of movie this will be. The story follows Janet, the newly appointed shadow minister of health, as she invites her group of closest friends over to celebrate the news. After her husband Bill (Timothy Spall) reveals some life-altering news, other secrets between the party-goers slowly start to trickle out causing the dinner party to become less than civil.

The story in turn isn’t a slow-dragging, dull, talking head drama, but instead a look into the themes of politics, love and religion. Each character has their own issues that are pushed to the surface at this party as it becomes a barbaric battle of civilized savages. The tension rises, not only between characters, but with the party itself, in an unexpected and shocking way that helps create a surprisingly real situation. That is without even mentioning the stunning amount of humour sewn into this story; it is the definition of dark comedy.

Writer-Director Sally Potter does an outstanding job setting the mood for this awkward evening of what seems like frenemies. The cinematography is nothing short of spectacular as the framing and shots help imbue the tone and immerse the audience into the awkward, narcissistic atmosphere of this dinner party. While the choice of a black and white style may be a bit odd, it could be to distract from a very boring colour palette to focus on the characters and dialogue-heavy story. In fact, the use of black and white actually accents the tone of the story blending well with the choice of music throughout the film.

Overall, The Party is a character-driven, dialogue-heavy drama supported by an A-list cast. With an immersive, emotionally-draining and thought-provoking story, sublime cinematography, a beautiful score and well-written, flawed characters, this is one party that is not worth missing. It is the best example of how to do a great talking head stage play for the screen.



1 = Fair 2 = Good 3 = Very Good 4 = Excellent

★★★☆ – Premise

★★★☆ – Story

★★★★ – Characters

★★☆☆ – Visual Effects

★★★★ – Dialogue

★★☆☆ – Visuals

★★★☆ – Soundtrack

★★★★★★★½☆☆ 7.5/10 – Consider

What did you think of The Party? Let me know in the comments!

If you liked this, check out my other reviews. I also write for keithlovesmovies.com and post video reviews on my YouTube channel The Film Fanatic where we post other content like countdown videos, movie recommendations, script analyses and more. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and like me on Facebook, and until next time Fanatics, keep it reel.


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