The Party: LFF Film Review 

Sally Potter seems to have taken the saying ‘leave them wanting more’ to heart when making The Party, which is only 71 minutes. I love a running time like that as I hate films which outstay their welcome, but it really felt too short – I was genuinely left wanting more!

Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas) and her husband Bill (Timothy Spall) are hosting a party at their house to celebrate Janet’s new promotion in parliament. They are joined by her good pal April (Patricia Clarkson) and her German partner Gottfried (Bruno Ganz), Bill’s friend Martha (Cherry Jones) and her pregnant girlfriend Jinny (Emily Mortimer), and banker Tom (Cillian Murphy), who has come ahead of his wife Marianne, Janet’s new colleague.

It is a comedy built around shocking revelation after shocking revelation. They are not particularly funny, in fact they are pretty damn dark and dramatic, with infidelities and relationship issues galore, but it is the reaction to the news that provides the laughs. Clarkson is the best at that as the straight-talking, take-no-shit type who always has something hilariously cynical and cutting to say, while Murphy displays odd behaviour, as he is dealing with a big revelation, and Ganz is this weird life coach giving out advice.

It is wonderfully chaotic, witty and quite nuts but it is written and acted very well and with strong, well-defined characters. I found Spall odd and I didn’t like how he delivered his lines, it was so slow and infuriating, but everybody else was excellent and it felt like strong ensemble.

I don’t usually complain about a film being too short, but in this case I really could have done with an extra 15-20 minutes. It ends on a cliffhanger revelation and I would have liked to have seen how that played out.

Screening as part of the 61st BFI London Film Festival. In cinemas from Friday 13th October 

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