Taglines: A comedy of tragic proportions.
To celebrate her long-awaited prestigious post as a Shadow Minister for Health and, hopefully, the stepping stone to party leadership, the newly-appointed British opposition politician, Janet, is throwing a party for friends at her London flat. Of course, in this select and intimate soirée, apart from Bill–Janet’s self-denying academic husband–a motley crew of elite hand-picked guests have been invited.
There’s April, the sourly cynical American best friend; her unlikely German husband, Gottfried; there’s also Jinny and Martha; and finally, Tom, the smooth banker in the impeccable suit. But inevitably, before dinner is served, the upbeat ambience will shatter to pieces, as festering secrets will start surfacing in this perfect domestic war-zone. Undoubtedly, after this night, things will never be the same again.
The Party is a 2017 British black comedy film written and directed by Sally Potter and starring Timothy Spall, Kristin Scott Thomas, Patricia Clarkson, Bruno Ganz, Cherry Jones, Emily Mortimer and Cillian Murphy. It was selected to compete for the Golden Bear in the main competition section of the 67th Berlin International Film Festival.
About the Story
Janet, a politician for the opposition party, has just been announced shadow minister for health and is having a small celebratory party at her house. Invited are her friends April, with her estranged German partner Gottfried, a life coach and self-proclaimed spiritual healer, Women’s studies professor Martha, with her partner Jinny, a cook, and Janet’s colleague and subordinate Marianne with husband Tom, a banker.
Before the party begins and even after the guests arrive, Janet’s husband Bill sits in his chair, listening to music, staring vacantly, and drinking wine. All invited guests come, with the exception of Marianne, who Tom says will arrive later. Tom is extremely nervous and immediately locks himself in the bathroom, where he sniffs some cocaine, examines a gun he has brought with him and encourages himself in the mirror.
While the party is running, Janet is exchanging secret phone calls and messages with a lover. After April, who continually belittles and insults Gottfried, speaks a toast for Janet, Martha and Jinny announce that Jinny is pregnant with three boys. This is immediately followed by Bill announcing that he has just been informed by his doctor that he is terminally ill. Gottfried tells him that modern medicine is not to be believed and that by becoming spiritual, Bill may have a chance of surviving. Bill, who is a well-known atheist intellectual, seems to waver in his commitment to his beliefs and begins to listen to Gottfried.
Janet says that she will resign from her shadow minister position and will take care of Bill, but he announces that he is leaving her for Marianne, a fact that Tom had also learned earlier this day. After berating Bill, Tom goes into the backyard, where he throws his gun into the dustbin. While Jinny and Martha are talking about the future and motherhood, Martha patronizes Jinny, who, deeply hurt, tells Martha that she will leave her. This leads Martha to confess to Jinny that she fears what will happen and to plead Jinny to stay with her.
When Janet throws something in the dustbin, she notices the gun Tom had thrown away and takes it with her, locking herself in the bathroom and hiding the gun there. She lets April in and they talk about what happened. April, who has been cynical the whole time, is asked to speak honestly by Janet and tells her that she is proud of her accomplishments.
The Party (2018)
Directed by: Sally Potter
Starring: Timothy Spall, Kristin Scott Thomas, Patricia Clarkson, Bruno Ganz, Cherry Jones, Emily Mortimer, Cillian Murphy
Screenplay by: Sally Potter
Production Design by: Carlos Conti
Cinematography by: Aleksei Rodionov
Film Editing by: Emilie Orsini, Anders Refn
Costume Design by: Jane Petrie
Set Decoration by: Alice Felton
Art Direction by: Rebecca Alleway
MPAA Rating: NR for language and drug use.
Distributed by: Roadside Attractions
Release Date: February 16, 2018