Everybody Knows (2018) by Asghar Farhadi
Review by Lydia Creech
LYDIA: It seemed appropriate for me to start and end my time at TIFF with surprise thrillers. Going in, I didn’t know much more than the name of the director and stars. I expected it to be a well-rounded family drama, like the other Farhadi films I’d seen. It was, but I was surprised by the central kidnapping plot and atmosphere of family secrecy (poorly kept, as it turns out).
Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem play former, though amicably ended, lovers. She has come from out of town with her children to attend a wedding. However, during the celebration, her daughter is kidnapped, and suddenly Cruz’s character finds that she has to rely on her old boyfriend to help manage the rescue/ransom efforts. Unfortunately, in the process, long held familial resentments start to bubble to the surface.
The telling was twisty and Cruz and Bardem have great chemistry (they should; they’re married). After awhile, I could kind of see where the arc of the story was going, but it was well done. It was interesting to see Farhadi do something that slots more squarely into genre filmmaking. I don’t know if it will be up for any Oscars this year (doubtful?), but hopefully Farhadi is allowed to attend the ceremony if it does.