The Party (2017 film)

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The Party
The Party (2017 film).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySally Potter
Produced by
  • Kurban Kassam
  • Christopher Sheppard
Written bySally Potter
CinematographyAleksei Rodionov
Edited by
  • Emilie Orsini
  • Anders Refn
  • Adventure Pictures
  • Great Point Media
Distributed byPicturehouse Entertainment
Release date
  • 13 February 2017 (2017-02-13) (Berlin)
  • 13 October 2017 (2017-10-13) (UK)
Running time
71 minutes[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Party is a 2017 British black comedy film written and directed by Sally Potter.[2] The film was shot in black and white and features a seven-actor ensemble of Patricia Clarkson, Bruno Ganz, Emily Mortimer, Cherry Jones, Cillian Murphy, Kristin Scott Thomas and Timothy Spall.

It was selected to compete for the Golden Bear in the main competition section of the 67th Berlin International Film Festival[3] and was awarded the Guild Film Prize.[4] The film received positive reviews from critics.

67th Berlin International Film Festival, 2017, Sally Potter with the cast : Timothy Spall, Patricia Clarkson, Cillian Murphy, Sally Potter, Bruno Ganz, and Kristin Scott Thomas


Janet, a politician for the opposition party, has just been announced as 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 renowned chef, and Janet's colleague and subordinate Marianne with husband Tom, a banker.

Before the party begins and 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.

Throughout the party, Janet is exchanging secret phone calls and messages with an unknown lover.

While April, who continually belittles and insults Gottfried, gives a toast to Janet, Martha and Jinny announce that Jinny is pregnant with triplets via in vitro fertilisation. 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, 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 learned earlier that 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. Martha then confesses to Jinny that she fears what will happen once the babies are born, and pleads with Jinny to stay with her.

When Janet throws the burnt vol-au-vents in the dustbin, she finds 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. She asks April, who has been cynical the whole time, to speak honestly with her. April tells her that she is proud of her accomplishments.

Gottfried tries to help and coach Tom and Bill, but their discussion escalates when Bill rambles about the love that Marianne and he share. Tom punches him in the face, knocking him out cold. Gottfried and Tom fear that Tom has killed Bill and they try to seek help from the others. They fetch Janet from the bathroom, just when she was starting to tell April a secret. Janet manages to resuscitate Bill, who looks her in the eyes and asks, "How did it come to this?" At that moment, the doorbell rings, with everybody expecting it to be Marianne. Janet rushes to the bathroom, grabs the gun, runs to open the door, aims the gun at the visitor, who is invisible to the audience, and exclaims, "You told me you loved me. ME! You traitor!" before it cuts to black.



In February 2017, The Party competed at Berlin International Film Festival.[5][6]

In May 2017, Picturehouse Entertainment and Roadside Attractions acquired UK and U.S. distribution rights to the film respectively.[7][8] The film was released in the UK on 13 October 2017.[9]

Critical reception[edit]

The Party received positive reviews from film critics. It holds a critical approval rating of 81% on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 150 reviews, with an average rating of 6.96/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Old-fashioned charm meets sharp wit and modern social satire in The Party, a biting comedy carried by a shining performance from Patricia Clarkson."[10] On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 72 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[11] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian described the film as 'observant and smart' in his review.[12]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The Party was awarded the Guild Film Prize[4] at the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival.[13]


  1. ^ "The Party (2017)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  2. ^ Barraclough, Leo (15 June 2016). "Patricia Clarkson, Bruno Ganz, Kristin Scott Thomas to Star in Sally Potter's 'The Party'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  3. ^ Press Office (15 December 2016). "Aki Kaurismäki, Oren Moverman, Agnieszka Holland, Andres Veiel, and Sally Potter – First Films for the Competition of the Berlinale 2017". Berlin International Film Festival. Archived from the original on 5 March 2017. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Prizes of the Independent Juries". Retrieved 23 May 2018. The jury of the “Guild Film Prize” is composed of three members who run cinemas and are members of the AG Kino - Gilde e.V. (association of German Art House Cinemas). The jury awards its prize to a film screened in the Competition.
  5. ^ "'The Party': Film Review - Berlin 2017". Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  6. ^ Lodge, Guy (13 February 2017). "Film Review: 'The Party'". Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  7. ^ Grater, Tom (2 May 2017). "Sally Potter's 'The Party' secures UK distribution". Screen Daily. Screen International. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  8. ^ Ritman, Alex (12 May 2017). "Roadside Attractions Takes Sally Potter's 'The Party' for North America (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  9. ^ King, Toby (31 August 2017). "The Party Official Poster And Trailer". Picturehouse Cinemas. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  10. ^ "The Party (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  11. ^ "The Party Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  12. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (13 February 2017). "The Party review – conniptions amid the canapés in an observant real-time farce". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  13. ^ "The Awards of the 67th Berlin International Film Festival" (PDF). Berlinale 67. Berlin International Film Festival. 18 February 2017. Retrieved 31 May 2017.

External links[edit]