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The Anniversary Party (2001)

Alan Cumming , Jennifer Jason Leigh , Alan Cumming , Jennifer Jason Leigh  |  R |  DVD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)

List Price: $24.98
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Product Details

  • Actors: Alan Cumming, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Phoebe Cates, Kevin Kline, Otis
  • Directors: Alan Cumming, Jennifer Jason Leigh
  • Writers: Alan Cumming, Jennifer Jason Leigh
  • Producers: Alan Cumming, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Andrew Hurwitz, JoAnne Sellar
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Unknown)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: New Line Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 15, 2002
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005TPLW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,834 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Anniversary Party" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Anatomy of a Scene - Sundance Channel Documentary
  • DVD ROM: Script to screen, Original web site

Editorial Reviews

To celebrate their sixth anniversary, successful novelist Joe Therrian (Alan C******) and his wife, famous Hollywood actress Sally (Jennifer Jason Leigh), invite their friends over for a party. Sally and Joe have only recently reconciled after a separation, and the strain in their relationship reveals itself as the party progresses.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to the (Sort of) Celebration September 5, 2002
Format:DVD
This film pulls back the curtain to reveal a glimpse of what "celebrity" means when the cameras aren't rolling and the stage is dark. What begins as a celebration of sorts becomes a character study that examines the lifestyle of the self-absorbed and those driven by ego, and we get to see the people behind the "fame." And while on one hand "The Anniversary Party," written and directed by Alan Cumming and Jennifer Jason Leigh, appears at first to be the kind of party you could find at anyone's house at any time in any place, subtle differences begin to surface that separates it from what could be considered the "norm." Because beyond certain corporate similarities, the entertainment industry is quite unlike any other, and that goes especially for the people who inhabit it. Sure, actors, writers, directors, etc. are people, just like anyone else, but their particular perceptions and priorities necessarily shift them into a unique position within the landscape of the human condition, wherein they exist amongst their own and for the most part play the game by their own rules. This is a generalization, of course; not every actor or artist lives in the style depicted in this film, but many do. In the final analysis, Hollywood is not called "La-La Land" for no reason, and Cumming and Leigh know it. Welcome to a world in which anything is acceptable, anything goes, and usually does.
Writer/director Joe Therrian (Cumming) and actress Sally Nash (Leigh) have prepared a party to celebrate their six years together; not that they have actually been "together" the entire time, but according to the actor/artist math, it's close enough.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb ensemble piece February 25, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This debut from the unlikely team of Alan Cumming and Jennifer Jason Leigh is the most uncomfortable experience I have had watching a film in a while. Not Requiem for a Dream discomfort by any means, just an emotional tension that makes you feel for the characters.
This is not to say that it is a bad film. This is in fact not so. The reason it is an uncomfortable experience is that the directors are so good in expressing the discomfort the characters feel that the viewer feels it, too.
It mainly concerns the couple played by Cumming and Leigh, who have been separated for a considerable time (following their fifth anniversary) and have not yet figured out how to live with each other again. Their scenes are filled with tension combined with genuine love and effort in wanting to stay together.
The story takes place during one day and night of the preparation and then execution of a party for their sixth wedding anniversary. Cumming plays a novelist who has just been asked to direct his screenplay of his latest novel. The lead character of Jesse is well-known to have been based upon Leigh when she was younger. The leads Leigh, an famous actress in her own right, to feel she is the perfect person for the part. However, Cumming, through some coercion from the studio, has decided to hire the Gwyneth Paltrow character to play the part instead, telling her on the phone (overheard by Leigh) that she is his only choice for the role. He then invites Paltrow to their anniversary party, balked at by Leigh, who "didn't even invite my own mother."
In addition, everyone involved with Leigh's current film seems to believe, unbeknownst to her, that due to her emotional stresses, she is just "phoning it in.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best of the year, so far. June 6, 2001
Starring, co-written, and co-directed by Jennifer Jason Leigh. Although Jennifer has a tendency in the past decade to consistently pick dark subject matter, I am pleased to see that she has grabbed a-hold of some power in the independent film world. This is one of those small budget films that is almost entirely shot in one solitary location, which means that it's merit stands upon it's character development and dialogue. And to my surprise this film is about an appetizer and drinks evening of close friends party - booze, appetizers, charades, swimming, etc. etc. Some of the most enjoyable dialogue is because it seems to have an unedited genuiness. It is nice to see certain familiar acting faces - Jennifer Beals (forever remembered in FLASHDANCE), Phoebe Cates (her only memorable film being FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGHT) acting opposite her real-life husband Kevin Kline, and big Oscar winning star Gwenyth Paltrow making a supportive appearance (good for her, quality over big budget.)
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked it June 24, 2002
By A Customer
Format:DVD
I'm surprised at the number of negative reviews. This slice of life movie kept me engaged from beginning to end.
Unlike most people, I do see a plot here. The story is about Sally and Joe's marriage, and whether it can survive. It's apparent from the beginning that whatever they may think, the marriage isn't likely to last. For one thing, Joe isn't really committed--he's distracted by anyone "intoxicating" or new who floats by. And Sally knows she is on shaky ground, an "aging" actress in a town full of young ones. I felt for her, though I'm no actress. My connection to her character is what made the movie work for me.
The view into Hollywood was revealing: All the women are in some kind of pain, while the men, whether nasty or nice, are happy with themselves. Sad but not surprising.
Other situations I felt were universal. Who *hasn't* known someone married to the wrong person, trying to make it work? Willing to save the marriage with a baby, if that's what it takes, even if the partner isn't good father/mother material? Or a self-punishing working mother, or a full time mom who doesn't enjoy it as much as she pretends, or makes it too much of an identity? Who can't imagine being on either side of the neighbor/dog issue? Or hitting a career slump?
I admit it's a bit more fun to see these life issues wrapped up with a bit of Hollywood glamour: a lovely home, famous artist friends, with movie stardom and Oscars part of the background.
The movie has a fairly interesting commentary on drug use and addiction running through it as well. Of course there is the obvious issue of the Ecstacy use at the party.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Phoebe Cates was the only thing worth watching
The movie was long and filled with the F word. They tried to show the Hollywood type of lifestyle with all the problems and drugs. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Debbie Eide
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeper characters
I wished this movie went a little deeper into the lives of each of the characters. What was really the whole deal with Mr. Cumming and Jennifer Beals chemistry.
Published 4 months ago by carroll
1.0 out of 5 stars Wretched!
The movie was inane, profane, self-centered on 'Hollywood' people, and an intended vehicle for the starring performers -- who wrote the wretched thing.
Published 7 months ago by Mitchell Maloof
3.0 out of 5 stars It's ok
The story is ok but JB has too small of a role. Must have been one where she needed the money. Not her best
Published 7 months ago by Judy Eckroth
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Movie
An artsy film that is interesting in it's messages. It comes across like a peek into the lifestyle of the rich and famous (have you ever wondered what happend at one of those... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Cassie
2.0 out of 5 stars Yawn yawn...
There wasn't a single character in the movie that I fell in love with. Well, maybe the dog. Way over the top and yet boring, yawn, snoozer.
Published 14 months ago by Doc jojo
2.0 out of 5 stars 2 stars
This movie was saved by the hired guns who showed up. Without big names it would have been nothing...
I think "Hollywood Circle Jerk" would have been a more apt title. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Mike
4.0 out of 5 stars a chaotic, drug-filled, drunken, libertine hollywood evening
This is a film about how some people of Hollywood lose control not just of their careers, but of their personal lives, all in one heavy, crazy party that exposes the rawness of... Read more
Published on January 20, 2012 by Robert J. Crawford
5.0 out of 5 stars Get A Relatable Glimpse Of Hollywood At This Party...
This movie is one of the rare films that I have viewed over and over again through the years, and have always been able to appreciate it for something new every time. Read more
Published on January 7, 2012 by Sheryl Fechter
5.0 out of 5 stars An adult talkie melodrama
Zero expectations here, but, wow, what a pleasant surprise. Jennifer Jason Leigh has never been quite this good as the wife of the couple whose 6th anniversary is marked by an LA... Read more
Published on August 13, 2011 by Brad Smith
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