close

BREAKING NEWS

Travel - Consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labour

Fashion - Consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt

News - Consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labour

  • Home
  • LGBT
  • About that time Alan Cumming directed & starred in a movie…
  • May 31, 2021

About that time Alan Cumming directed & starred in a movie…

The Anniversary Party

Welcome to Screen Gems, our weekend dive into queer and queer-adjacent titles of the past that deserve a watch or a re-watch.

The Experiment: The Anniversary Party

Alan Cumming–still a relative novice to films at the time–co-wrote, co-directed, and co-starred opposite Jennifer Jason Leigh in this too-little-seen gem from 2001. The Anniversary Party follows a married couple, Sally & Joe (played by Leigh & Cumming), on the evening of their 6th anniversary. The uber-horny, bisexual Joe works as a novelist, transitioning into film direction while Sally has a successful acting career. The couple decides to celebrate the occasion with some of their best friends: Cal, an actor, his wife, Sophia and their kids (real-life couple Kevin Kline, Phoebe Cates and their real-life kids Owen and Greta); Mac (John C. Riley), Sally’s latest director and his anxious wife Clair (Jane Adams); cutthroat Hollywood manager Jerry and his eccentric wife Judy (John Benjamin Hickey and Parker Posey); the neo-hippie Skye (Gwenyth Paltrow); Joe’s ex-girlfriend Gina (Jennifer Beals) and Joe’s ex-boyfriend, Jeffrey (Matt McGrath). It should go without saying, as the evening progresses, the booze flows, buried secrets surface, and the party descends into drama.

The Anniversary Party borrows heavily from all-in-one-night dramas such as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woof in its mix of dark comedy and character conflict. Cumming & Leigh conceived the film as a sort of experiment to showcase actors at their best, and to work with a close group of friends with a semi-improvised script. The co-directors have longtime friendships with everyone involved. Bisexuality and queer identity are two of the themes explored here; in particular, the insecurity they can bring to longtime, hetero relationships. The film also features queer cast members, including Cumming, Hickey and McGrath–the latter two both actors too-little-seen in the movies. If nothing else, the movie earns a reason to watch for the return of Phoebe Cates, who had retired from acting some seven years before. Cates’ work here reminds audiences of her incredible beauty and natural charisma. It’s our loss she hasn’t made a movie in the 20 years since.

AdBridg.cmd.push(function() AdBridg.display(“div-gpt-ad-inarticle1”); );

Cumming & Leigh opted to shoot The Anniversary Party on a tight, two-and-a-half-week schedule on digital video to help keep costs down–a technique that would foreshadow virtually every low-budget and indie film going before the cameras today. That alone makes it of note, though the real joy is watching a terrific cast bite into juicy (and often hilarious) material with performances so unaffected it recalls the semi-improvised work of Robert Altman at his best. Basic, but featuring an all-star cast at their best, The Anniversary Party is a true cinematic labor of love. Maybe that’s why we loved watching it so much.

Streams on Amazon, VUDU & YouTube.

vertical_split LGBT

Leave a Reply

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

    Archives

    Categories

    Meta

    Categories

    Recent Posts