|The Anniversary Party|
|Music by||Michael Penn|
|Distributed by||Fine Line Features|
|115 minutes |
|Box office||$4,931,888 |
The Anniversary Party is a 2001 American comedy-drama film co-written, co-directed, co-produced by, and co-starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming, both making their respective feature directorial debuts. It is Phoebe Cates's final film appearance before her retirement.
Sally Nash and Joe Therrian are a Hollywood couple celebrating their sixth wedding anniversary shortly after reconciling following a period of separation. He is a novelist who is about to direct the screen adaptation of his most recent bestseller; she is an actress he has opted not to cast in the lead role, despite the fact it's partly based on her, because he feels she's too old for the part. This decision, coupled with an ongoing dispute about their barking dog Otis with their strait-laced, non-industry neighbors, clean-and-sober writer Ryan and interior decorator Monica Rose, has resulted in an undercurrent of tension between the two as they prepare for the arrival of their guests.
Among them are aging actor Cal Gold, Sally's co-star in the romantic comedy film she presently is shooting, his wife Sophia, and their two young children; director Mac Forsyth, who is directing Sally and Cal's film, and his anorexic, neurotic wife Clair; photographer Gina Taylor, whose relationship with Joe prior to his marriage and ongoing close friendship since troubles Sally; business manager Jerry Adams and his wife Judy; eccentric violinist Levi Panes; Jeffrey, Joe's roommate - and lover - at Oxford; and up-and-coming actress Skye Davidson, whom Joe has cast in the role Sally believes deservedly is hers. In an effort to dispel the simmering animosity between them and their neighbors, Sally and Joe have invited the Roses as well.
The early part of the evening is devoted to charades and lighthearted entertainment. Following a series of toasts offered by the guests, Joe distributes the ecstasy Skye brought them as a gift. As it begins to take effect, the night deteriorates, accusations are made, secrets are revealed, and relationships slowly unravel. Complicating emotions triggered by the drug are the disappearance of Otis and a phone call from Joe's father bringing tragic news about his beloved sister Lucy.
In an episode of the Sundance Channel series Anatomy of a Scene , the filmmakers discussed the project at length. Because of conflicting schedules, there was a period of only 19 days in which the entire cast—consisting of friends and actors with whom Leigh and Cumming previously had worked—would be available for filming. This prompted the decision to film using digital video, which Leigh felt also added a sense of immediacy and intimacy that would draw the audience into the action as party guests observing everything from the sidelines.
The order in which the toasts were made was determined before the scene was filmed, although with the exception of that offered by Skye, they were improvised rather than scripted.[ citation needed ]
Retired actress Phoebe Cates returned to acting for this one film, as a favor to director Leigh, her best friend.[ citation needed ]
Actress Mina Badie is Leigh's half-sister, from her mother's second marriage.
The film's soundtrack includes "I Know a Place" by Petula Clark, "I May Never Go Home Anymore" by Marlene Dietrich, "Comin' Home Baby" by Mel Tormé, "There Is No Greater Love" and "A Lot of Livin' to Do" by Sammy Davis Jr., "Stealing My Love from Me" by Lulu, "Troubles" by Blair Tefkin and the Adagio from the Sonata No. 1 in G minor by Johann Sebastian Bach.
The film premiered at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival in May  prior to its limited release in the US the following month. It grossed $4,047,329 in the US and $884,559 in foreign markets for a total worldwide box office of $4,931,888. 
In his review in The New York Times , Stephen Holden called it "an articulate, acutely observant film [that] makes you realize how starved Hollywood movies are for great ensemble acting . . . the movie has such finely woven performances that the best scenes project a convincing illusion of spontaneity . . . Ms. Leigh and Mr. Cumming's screenplay does an amazing job of creating about a dozen fully rounded, nuanced characters with a minimum of words. The dialogue, though it comes quickly and in scraps, is so juicy that the zest with which the actors bite into it suggests they invented it themselves . . . This isn't Chekhov, by any stretch of the imagination. The empathy the film extends to its characters may be evenly distributed, but it isn't all-embracing. Yet 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." 
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times observed, "The appeal of the film is largely voyeuristic. We learn nothing we don't already more or less know, but the material is covered with such authenticity and unforced natural conviction that it plays like a privileged glimpse into the sad lives of the rich and famous. We're like the neighbors who are invited. Leigh and Cumming...are confident professionals who don't indulge their material or themselves. This isn't a confessional home movie, but a cool and intelligent look at a lifestyle where smart people are required to lead their lives according to dumb rules." 
In the San Francisco Chronicle , Mick LaSalle said, "Leigh and Cumming save the best roles for themselves, and both their roles reach major emotional crescendos. Yet to their credit, with all the video in the world at their disposal and nobody to rein them in, they don't indulge themselves. They're both brilliant, spot-on and wonderfully true. The Anniversary Party is probably one of those miracles that can happen only once. Still one can't help hoping that Leigh and Cumming collaborate on another film." 
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone stated, "The final result should be a self-indulgent mess - and, in truth, the final third of the film comes close. But until Leigh and Cumming let their actorly urge for high drama blunt their flair for bracing wit and subtle feeling, they turn what could have been an acting stunt into an intimate and compelling study of bruised emotions . . . [They] were fortunate to secure the services of master cinematographer John Bailey, who brings textured marvels of light and shadow to digital camerawork that is often crude in lesser hands. It's only when the guests head for the pool to play truth games on Ecstasy while Leigh and Cumming head for the hills for a Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? sparring match that the movie collapses under the weight of its artsy-fartsy ambitions. My advice on how to get the most from this Party is: Leave early." 
In Variety , Todd McCarthy said the film "is well observed in many particulars but is too familiar in its basic trajectory to be fresh or compelling . . . All the roles are in good hands, and it's mildly amusing in a voyeuristic way to watch the likes of Paltrow behave as we might imagine stars do at a party . . . Although the digital video imprint is still evident, ace vet lenser John Bailey has gone a long way toward making this look like a celluloid-shot picture, most successfully in the bright, daytime scenes, less so at night or under low lighting conditions, where the images sometimes appear washed out."  The Anniversary Party currently holds a 61% rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes based on 114 collected reviews, with the consensus: "This Party features a killer cast and many funny scenes, but the movie feels like nothing more than an excuse for the actors to emote." 
When Harry Met Sally... is a 1989 American romantic comedy-drama film written by Nora Ephron and directed by Rob Reiner. It stars Billy Crystal as Harry and Meg Ryan as Sally. The story follows the title characters from the time they meet in Chicago just before sharing a cross-country drive, through twelve years of chance encounters in New York City. The film addresses but does not resolve questions along the lines of "Can men and women ever just be friends?"
Phoebe Belle Cates Kline is an American former actress, known primarily for her roles in films such as Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), Gremlins (1984), Drop Dead Fred (1991) and Princess Caraboo (1994).
Alan Cumming is a Scottish actor. His London stage work includes Hamlet, the Maniac in Accidental Death of an Anarchist, the lead in Bent, The National Theatre of Scotland's The Bacchae and Samuel Beckett's Endgame at The Old Vic, opposite Daniel Radcliffe. On Broadway, he has appeared in The Threepenny Opera, as the master of ceremonies in Cabaret, Design for Living, and a one-man adaptation of Macbeth.
The Brown Bunny is a 2003 experimental road drama film written, directed, produced, photographed and edited by Vincent Gallo. Starring Gallo and Chloë Sevigny, it tells the story of a motorcycle racer on a cross-country drive who is haunted by memories of his former lover. It was photographed with handheld 16 mm cameras in various locations throughout the United States, including New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Ohio, Missouri, Utah, Nevada, and California.
Jennifer Jason Leigh is an American actress. She began her career on television during the 1970s before making her film breakthrough as Stacy Hamilton in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982). She later received critical praise for her performances in Last Exit to Brooklyn (1989), Miami Blues (1990), Backdraft (1991), Single White Female (1992), and Short Cuts (1993).
Cabaret is a 1966 musical with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Joe Masteroff. The musical was based on John Van Druten's 1951 play I Am a Camera which was adapted from Goodbye to Berlin (1939), a semi-autobiographical novel by Anglo-American writer Christopher Isherwood which drew upon his experiences in the poverty-stricken Weimar Republic and his intimate friendship with nineteen-year-old cabaret singer Jean Ross.
Mike Leigh is an English film and theatre director, screenwriter and playwright. He has received numerous accolades, including prizes at the Cannes Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, the Venice International Film Festival, three BAFTA Awards, and nominations for seven Academy Awards. He also received the BAFTA Fellowship in 2014, and was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1993 Birthday Honours for services to the film industry.
Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle is a 1994 American biographical drama film directed by Alan Rudolph from a screenplay written by Rudolph and Randy Sue Coburn. The film stars Jennifer Jason Leigh as writer Dorothy Parker and depicts the members of the Algonquin Round Table, a group of writers, actors and critics who met almost every weekday from 1919 to 1929 at Manhattan's Algonquin Hotel.
Freddie Joe Ward was an American actor and producer. Starting with a role in an Italian television movie in 1973, he appeared in such diverse films as Escape from Alcatraz, Southern Comfort, The Right Stuff, Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, Tremors and Tremors 2: Aftershocks, Henry & June, The Player, Swing Shift, Short Cuts, and 30 Minutes or Less.
Car Wash is a 1976 American comedy film released by Universal Pictures. Directed by Michael Schultz from a screenplay by Joel Schumacher, the film stars Franklyn Ajaye, Bill Duke, George Carlin, Irwin Corey, Ivan Dixon, Antonio Fargas, Jack Kehoe, Clarence Muse, Lorraine Gary, The Pointer Sisters, Richard Pryor, and Garrett Morris. Originally conceived as a musical, Car Wash is an episodic comedy about a day in the lives of a close-knit group of employees at a Los Angeles, California car wash and their boss, Leon "Mr. B" Barrow.
Georgia is a 1995 American independent film starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Mare Winningham. Leigh plays Sadie Flood, a punky barroom singer who has a complicated relationship with her older sister, Georgia, played by Winningham.
Blair Tefkin is an American actress, singer and songwriter.
Mary Elle Fanning is an American actress. She made her film debut as the younger version of her sister Dakota Fanning's character in the drama film I Am Sam (2001). As a child actress, she appeared in several films, including Babel (2006), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Phoebe in Wonderland. In 2010 she starred in Sofia Coppola's Somewhere (2010) earning her a Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Young Performer nomination. In 2011 she received attention for her starring role in J. J. Abrams' science-fiction film Super 8, earning a Spotlight Award at the Hollywood Film Festival. She subsequently had leading roles in the comedy-drama film We Bought a Zoo (2011), the drama film Ginger & Rosa (2012), and as Princess Aurora in the fantasy films Maleficent (2014) and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019).
Kansas City is a 1996 American crime film directed by Robert Altman, and starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Miranda Richardson, Harry Belafonte, Michael Murphy and Steve Buscemi. The musical score of Kansas City is integrated into the film, with modern-day musicians recreating the Kansas City jazz of 1930s.
Deborah Kaplan is an American screenwriter and film director.
Peter Mullan is a Scottish actor and filmmaker. He is best known for his role in Ken Loach's My Name Is Joe (1998), for which he won Best Actor Award at 1998 Cannes Film Festival, 2000's The Claim and all three series of the BBC comedy series Mum, in which he starred as Michael. He is also winner of the World Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Breakout Performances at 2011 Sundance Film Festival for his work on Paddy Considine's Tyrannosaur (2011). Mullan has appeared as supporting or guest actor in numerous cult movies, including Riff-Raff (1991), Braveheart (1995), Trainspotting (1996), Session 9 (2002), Young Adam (2003), Children of Men (2006), the final two Harry Potter films (2010–11), and War Horse (2011).
Sally is a 1929 Hollywood film. It is the fourth all-sound, all-color feature film made, and it was photographed in the Technicolor process. It was the sixth feature film to contain color that had been released by Warner Bros., the first five were The Desert Song (1929), On with the Show! (1929), Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929), Paris (1929), and The Show of Shows (1929).. Although exhibited in a few select theaters in December 1929, Sally went into general release on January 12, 1930.
The Anniversary may refer to:
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a 1997 American mystery thriller film directed and produced by Clint Eastwood and starring John Cusack and Kevin Spacey. The screenplay by John Lee Hancock was based on John Berendt's 1994 book of the same name and follows the story of an antiques dealer, Jim Williams, on trial for the murder of a male prostitute who was his lover. The multiple trials depicted in Berendt's book are combined into one trial for the film.
The Scarlett O'Hara War is a 1980 American made-for-television drama film directed by John Erman. It is based on the 1979 novel Moviola by Garson Kanin. Set in late 1930s Hollywood, it is about the search for the actress to play Scarlett O'Hara in the much anticipated film adaptation of Gone with the Wind (1939). This film premiered as the finale of a three-night TV miniseries on NBC called Moviola: A Hollywood Saga.