Asghar Farhadi’s new feature film triumphs again within the family drama dimensions. This time, the Iranian director has chosen Spain as the setup for the action and a kidnapping as the main driver of the movie. Everybody Knows tells the story of a small village in Spain where a wedding is taking place. Laura (Penélope Cruz) has travelled all the way from Argentina to her hometown with her two kids in order to be part of her sister’s marriage celebrations, during which her daughter is taken.
The director immediately immerses the audience in the family home and his characters and one might think that what is unveiling in front of them in the first ten minutes does not fit their expectations of a thriller. Everybody Knows is guilty of some “Spanishness” in its tone and in the performances, something that many viewers may not be used to, however, this differentiates this kidnap story from what we have seen before on the big screen.
The performances carry most of weight and tone of the picture, revealing the overall atmosphere of the small village. Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem, whose characters Laura and Paco were once lovers, are given the chance to shine throughout the film and they never disappoint, due to the fact that both go through the biggest character arcs, and it’s mesmerising to watch their chemistry on screen again.
Javier Limon elevates the overall beauty and romanticism of the film with a score that could only come from the south of Spain. The flamenco and folklore influences are clear and they bring a lot of authenticity to the movie. Inma Cuesta, who plays Laura’s little sister, also collaborates in the delivery of the music, performing the emotional Una de esas noches sin final.
It’s clear that Farhadi feels comfortable with dramas that have some sort of social relevance to a family and speak about a place from their perspective. Though some critics have stated they weren’t happy with the somewhat unsurprising big reveal at the film’s close, it does makes perfect sense, fitting in with the development of the story and the characters. The ending might look convenient, but it’s also a twist that speaks of place and, most importantly, about a society. Everybody Knows is very interesting and highly recommended viewing.
Everybody Knows is released nationwide on 8th March 2019.
Watch the trailer for Everybody Knows here: