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The Anniversary Party

3.4 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A party to celebrate the turning point in a couple's marriage quickly spirals out of control when an unexpected gift unleashes the hidden secrets of the past.

Special Features

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

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 (92 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005TPLW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,639 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Anniversary Party" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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. Written and directed by Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming who also star as the married couple, Joe and Sally. As an avid fan of Leigh's since the early 80's, there are so many movies that I have seen her in that most often tend to veer onto the darker side. That is Leigh and how she chooses of whom she will portray. In "The Anniversay Party" I seem to see that she is taking a 'shot' at the whole glamorizing of the 'movie scene'. Leigh and Cumming take this one a bit 'lighter' than her usual, adding many personal touches with the cast (Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates along with their real life children as the Gold family, Leigh's own step sister is the neighbor wife and even Leigh's dog is a part of this movie).

Through this over-blown, self absorbed vehicle that is the celebration of the couple's 6th wedding anniversary, so many different Hollywood types, neighbors and friends come converging to the party. Although from the onset, their marriage is just coming back together again through many years of turbulence. The husband Joe is an author who is just readying himself to direct his latest novel, based on his wife Sally's earier years as an actress. Joe is blatant about choosing the next upcoming star in Hollywood to play this role (Gwyneth Paltrow who is 'Skye Davidson'), while Sally is ill at ease with his choice and furthermore he has invited her to the party. This first pulls the string of tension that runs throughout this film to the tautest point and doesn't let up.

This is a small budget picture and thankfully so. It affords all the necessary focus to be on the characters and on their dialogue.
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