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Everybody Knows
Todos lo saben
★★★★☆
First run Theater cinema

The prolific Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, who twice won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for The Salesman (2016) and for his masterpiece A Separation (2012), travels outside of his native land for the second time to create one of his best pictures yet, Everybody Knows. This psychological thriller set outside of Madrid marks the ninth time Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz have shared the screen. Cruz plays Laura, a Spanish woman living in Buenos Aires, who returns to her familial home with her teenage daughter and young son—though not with her husband—for her sister’s wedding.  Bardem plays Paco, Laura’s childhood lover who is now running a successful vineyard on land once owned by her family.

The opening scenes are full of the fun and chaos of wedding prep, mini-reunions, and the arrival of many guests. Characters are introduced at a frantic pace and little bits of information are delivered in a tossed-off fashion to which any fan of Farhadi will pay close attention, knowing that this writer/director doesn’t put extraneous details into his screenplays. Despite the festive mood, there is a tension that hangs over the proceedings, as we can be sure something will go wrong very soon. Little things like the wedding photographer’s drone flying over the party, Laura’s daughter suddenly feeling dizzy after one drink and one dance, a power failure that blacks out the entire town for a time, etc. Indeed, before the night is over something terrible will occur.

The criminal incident that incites this mystery-drama leads the characters to confront many secrets from their distant and recent pasts. As the suspenseful narrative threads unfold, Farhadi explores his signature theme—the complexities of class, gender, and cultural differences—in his signature style of elegantly composed realism. As usual, this filmmaker is less concerned with plot twists that keep the audience guessing who the guilty party is than with understanding the guilt we all carry with us, even when we are trying to do the right thing. In several ways, Everybody Knows recalls Farhadi’s Fireworks Wednesday (2006) and About Elly (2009) but the Spanish setting with its distinct cultural flavor makes this picture both fresh and engrossing.

Twitter Capsule:
Another engrossing psychological thriller from Farhadi where his subtextual commentary about culture and class resonate every bit as much as the gripping mystery. Cruz and Bardem lead a stellar Spanish class.

Directed by Asghar Farhadi
Produced by Alexandre Mallet-Guy and Álvaro Longoria

Written by Asghar Farhadi

With: Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Ricardo Darín, Eduard Fernández, Bárbara Lennie, Inma Cuesta, Elvira Mínguez, Ramón Barea, Carla Campra, Sara Sálamo, Roger Casamajor, José Ángel Egido, Sergio Castellanos, and Iván Chavero

Cinematography: José Luis Alcaine
Editing: Hayedeh Safiyari
Music: Javier Limón

Runtime: 133 min
Release Date: 09 May 2018
Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1
Color