Laura, a Spanish woman living in Buenos Aires, returns to her hometown outside Madrid with her two children to attend her sister’s wedding. However, the trip is upset by unexpected events that bring secrets into the open.
‘Everybody Knows’, the latest film from the acclaimed Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, is a family drama set in a small town on the outskirts of Madrid and centering on a family who have returned home from Buenos Aires for a wedding. The trip home turns sour when Irene, the family’s teenage daughter, is kidnapped at some point during the wedding, with the perpetrators demanding a ransom without involving the authorities and drawing the whole family into the investigation. The film stars Penelope Cruz as Laura, the family matriarch, and Javier Bardem as Paco, an old family friend, and ‘Everybody Knows’ features some of the strongest acting performances in any film I’ve seen this year.
Farhadi’s previous works have covered various themes but one in particular he likes to return to is how events in the past inform the present, and how resentment and anger can build up over time, simmering and then bubbling over at the slightest provocation. ‘Everybody Knows’ is a fine example of this as Laura’s return revives old grudges and secrets that would perhaps be better left undisturbed. From the outset the kidnapping has a suspicious feel to it, given the families perceived knowledge of Laura’s husband’s (Ricardo Darin) fortune, and this casts suspicion over every member of the family and those linked to it. Penelope Cruz is phenomenal as a woman trying to hold it together as she tries to get her daughter back, and Javier Bardem is equally as good as the old family friend whose investment in Irene’s disappearance raises eyebrows in the small community.
It’s a film that kept me on my toes trying to second guess what was really going on and I was emotionally invested in the story throughout, even when it occasionally threatens to tip over into melodrama. ‘Everybody Knows’ is a well made thriller from Asghar Farhadi with two outstanding performances from Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, and I really enjoyed it.
Directed By: Asghar Farhadi
Starring: Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Ricardo Darin, Barbara Lennie, Inma Cuesta, Elvira Minguez, Eduard Fernandez and Ramon Barea