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  • Fiona Prior

The Party

The Party

Written and directed by Sally Potter

There is the distinct feel of times past when we enter the lovely home of Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas) who has just been appointed Minister of Health in a Labour Government. We learn that her husband Bill (Timothy Spall) has forgone his own brilliant career to support her ambitions and the pairs nearest and dearest have been invited to dinner to celebrate.

Bill is already smashed and mysteriously doleful, Janet is receiving congratulations on her mobile, including text messages from what can only be her lover. This ‘Party’ could just as easily be a theatre piece with its cast of seven characters played by the stellar Patricia Clarkson, Bruno Ganz, Emily Mortimer, Cherry Jones, Cillian Murphy and the fore mentioned Kristin Scott Thomas and Timothy Spall; the events all taking place in the home of Janet and Bill. It is, in fact, a comedy of manners; those gathered slowly losing their civilized veneers as alcohol is consumed and secrets are revealed.

Lesbian Jinny (Emily Mortimer) is first to provide a major shock as she reveals she is pregnant with triplets and her older Professor partner (Cherry Jones) can’t hide the fact that she is less than over-joyed by pending motherhood, even if she doesn’t have to carry the ‘football team’. Bill throws a grenade when he reveals a terminal diagnosis and worst still, that he was diagnosed by a Harley Street Specialist. While Janet tries to look less appalled by the fact that he has used a private specialist and more appalled by the fact that he is dying another member of the party ‒ 'Bruno' who is married to the impeccably cynical April (Patricia Clarkson) ‒ starts talking chakras and crystals and only just avoids being murdered by his own wife for his efforts.

Add a few lines of cocaine in the bathroom being snorted by a genetically blessed banker who always ‘wins’ and whose wife has just revealed she is leaving him and this party has definitely begun to pump!

Worth a rainy afternoon in the cinema but I would prefer to see ‘The Party’ on stage.

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