Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 71% (Critics) / 72% (Audience)
Directed By: Roman Polanski
Written By: Yasmine Reza, Roman Polanski and Michael Katims
Starring: Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Synopsis: After two boys have a fight on the playground their parents meet to work out the issue. What begins as a polite coming together for the children quickly devolves into truly messy situation.
This is a movie that is all about the performances (it is basically a stage play on film) and the four actors involved do not disappoint.
Jodie Foster is so tightly wound and pathologically politically correct that her unraveling as the film goes on really makes an impact. Kate Winslet all repressed and bottled anger. And John C. Reilly was an unexpected surprise…he held his own with these powerhouse actors and delivered some of the finniest moments in the film. But the MVP was Christoph Waltz. He began the film as an arrogant lawyer who spent more time on the phone than he did interacting with the people he was in the from with but as the night broke down and everyone else was losing their minds in some way Waltz seemed to be deriving glee from the emotional trauma that was going on all a round him.
Polanski’s deft directing should be noted too. The film took place in three rooms of an apartment and the building’s hallway (I also loved how no one seemed to be able to leave the apartment no matter how hard they tried either) but it never felt closed in or claustrophobic at all.
I found the fact that the women seemed to suffer much greater emotional breaks then the men to be a bit of a sexist move. Aside from a brief moment where his cell phone suffers a watery fate, Waltz’s character doesn’t really have to dig down deep to any emotional catharsis while Reilly just has a change of temperament. The women on the other hand are truly almost on the verge of nervous breakdowns.
The ending seemed a tad abrupt. Maybe that is how the stage play that the film is based on ended but I felt the SOPRANOS-esque ending left me a bit cold.
Final Verdict: A smart and funny film that provides a satisfying movie experience without benefit of anything more than a skilled director and four really good performances. B