The Party’s Just Beginning: Film Review

I enjoy Karen Gillan‘s performances in films like Jumanji and the Guardians of the Galaxy/Avengers so I was intrigued to see what she’d come up with for her directorial debut, The Party’s Just Beginning, which she also wrote and stars in. I have to admit I wasn’t expecting it to be such a dark film.

She plays Liusaidh, a supermarket employee who spends her nights partying hard, drinking like it’s going out of fashion, gobbling chips and having sex with random dudes around Inverness, Scotland. But this self-destructive streak is her way of coping with the fact her best friend Alistair (Matthew Beard) killed himself a year before.

Gillan decided to make the film after learning that a person in the Scottish Highlands takes their life every 10 days, and this is a bleak, gritty take on the effect it can have on the people left behind. It has moments of lightness and hope – particularly when American love interest Dale (Lee Pace) is on the scene – but otherwise, it’s quite dark and sad and deals with other serious themes like rape, homosexuality and the difficulties in becoming transgender.

It also has some narrative issues. It doesn’t make clear what is real or imagined – but I guess that’s the point, as it shows her mental decline – and it also jumps around in time a lot. Sometimes it was obvious when it was a flashback but other times it wasn’t so clear – so it was rather confusing keeping up with them.

If you’re like me and have only seen Gillan in Jumanji, Guardians/Avengers and Doctor Who, then you will see her in a completely different light, doing things you’ve never seen her do before. It’s a solid, strong performance that shows off her range but I wish I knew more about Liusaidh, as she always felt at a distance to me.

But for her directorial debut, Gillan certainly shows promise as a filmmaker.

Available on-demand now 

Rating: 3/5

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