2001   USA The Anniversary Party
The Anniversary Party Image Cover
Additional Images
Director:Alan Cumming
Studio:New Line Home Video
Writer:Jennifer Jason Leigh, Alan Cumming
IMDb Rating:6.3 (5,983 votes)
Awards:1 win & 4 nominations
Duration:115 min
Alan Cumming  ...  (Director)
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Alan Cumming  ...  (Writer)
Alan Cumming  ...  Joe Therrian
Jennifer Jason Leigh  ...  Sally Therrian
Otis  ...  Himself
Steven Freedman  ...  Yoga Instructor
Norizzela Monterroso  ...  America
Clara Demedrano  ...  Rosa
John Benjamin Hickey  ...  Jerry Adams
Parker Posey  ...  Judy Adams
Phoebe Cates  ...  Sophia Gold
Kevin Kline  ...  Cal Gold
Owen Kline  ...  Jack Gold
Greta Kline  ...  Evie Gold
Denis O'Hare  ...  Ryan Rose
Mina Badie  ...  Monica Rose
Jane Adams  ...  Clair Forsyth
Michael Penn  ...  Composer
John Bailey  ...  Cinematographer
Summary: It's easy to be skeptical when a couple of well-connected actors throw a script together, start shooting their fabulous friends with digital cameras, and call it a movie. But Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming, who bonded in Cabaret on Broadway, have crafted a rough little gem in The Anniversary Party. Influenced by Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Player, it's a devastating portrait of a fragile marriage and a perceptive look at life in Hollywood. The characters are based--to an eerie degree--on their Hollywood counterparts: Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates are a Shakespeare-quoting actor and his retired actress wife; Gwyneth Paltrow is a rising young starlet; etc. Leigh is an actress on the way down, and Cumming, a best-selling author and up-and-coming director, is the sexually ambiguous husband with whom she has recently reconciled. The titular party is to celebrate their sixth anniversary, and revelations about the characters accumulate as the evening progresses from a tense session of charades to an ecstasy-pill-fueled blowout by the pool. The screenplay combines brittle humor with melodrama and consists of more talk than action (as in the Dogme films that inspired it), but the proceedings are rarely less than compelling even if the characters, for the most part, aren't exactly the most likable bunch. As a result, Jennifer Beals ends up stealing the show from the bigger names in the cast simply by emerging as the most genuinely human character--the one who actually showed up to honor her friends' commitment rather than to advance her career. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

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