The Anniversary Party

Released 2001


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Movie Summary

Alan Cumming
The Anniversary Party is the 2001 dramedy from co-star directors Jennifer Jason Leigh (Dolores Claiborne, The Hitcher, Existenz, Single White Female) and Alan Cumming (Spy Kids). Joe Therrian (Cumming) and Sally Nash (Leigh) are a successful novelist and actress throwing the titular party, though they have been estranged and are just getting back together. Other guests include Carl Gold (Kevin Kline), his wife Sofia (Phoebe Cates), Gina Taylor (Jennifer Beals), Mac Forsyth (John C. Reilly), Judy Adams (Parker Posey,) and Skye Davidson (Gwyneth Paltrow). Problems arise almost immediately - Joe has been hired to direct the screenplay of his novel and wants young actress Skye to play a role everyone assumes is based on and intended for Sally. He invites the actress to the party, making Sally furious. Then the neighbors have to be invited (John Benjamin Hickey and Posey) because of an ongoing fight over Joe and Sally's dog Otis barking and enraging the neighbors. As the guests start to arrive, we see some interesting dynamics forming: a married couple (Adams and Reilly) who have just had their first baby and left him with a sitter; she's a neurotic, nearly anorexic working actress and he, the director of Sally's latest film, is unhappy with Sally's performance; a close friend of Joe's (Beals) who's a little too close to him and disliked by Sally; a married couple (Kline and Cates) who bring their two children to the party (Kline and Cates' real-life children) - he's Sally's costar and she gave up show business, etc. When the ing'nue arrives with Ecstasy, the party takes a turn, and it's not for the better.moreless

Metacritic Score

  • 80

    The New York Times Stephen Holden

    Despite its shortcomings, this smart, caustic movie is easily the most incisive and realistic comedy of manners to emerge from Hollywood in quite a while, and that's saying a lot.

  • 70

    Los Angeles Times Kevin Thomas

    Cumming and Leigh -- bring to their stylish, incisive and compassionate film an immediacy and a bracing snap.

  • 40

    Variety Todd McCarthy

    Too familiar in its basic trajectory to be fresh or compelling.

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More Info About This Movie


Comedy, Drama


Dark Comedy, Showbiz, Independent