Everybody Knows

In Cinemas Now

Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem lead this Spain-set psychological drama from two-time Oscar-winning auteur Asghar Farhadi (The Salesman, A Separation).

"Laura (Cruz) travels with her teenage daughter and young son to the village where she grew up to attend her sister's wedding. She's left her husband Alejandro (Darín) back in Argentina and is free to plunge into the simple pleasures of her youth. But tensions run just under the surface with Laura's family, and the stray feelings she has for her old boyfriend Paco (Bardem), who now runs a nearby vineyard, might trouble the waters further. Still, everybody gathers to celebrate the wedding at a big village party, when the power cuts out... and Laura's daughter disappears." (Toronto International Film Festival)

Trailers

Directed by

Written by

Drama, Mystery, Thriller, World Cinema, Festival & Independent

132mins

Rating: M Coarse language

Spanish with English subtitles

France, Spain, Italy

Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem married in 2010, nine years after shooting Jamón Jamón, their first film together. Nine years and numerous collaborations later, they return, together on screen once again, this time playing ex-lovers in Asghar Farhadi’s suspense mystery thriller Everybody Knows.

The film follows Laura (Cruz) as she returns to the Spanish village where she grew up to attend her sister’s wedding—teenage daughter Irene (Carla Campra) and young son in tow. But during the reception Irene is kidnapped, and in the days that follow, strained familial relations and past secrets complicate search efforts. When the kidnappers demand a ransom only Laura’s ex-lover Paco (Bardem) can afford, Laura and her husband (Ricardo Darin) must decide where to place their trust.

Cruz and Darin are believably distraught as listless, horrified parents. Bárbara Lennie, too, is brilliant as Bea, Paco’s concerned, headstrong wife. But there are two performances that shine above all else in this film; Carla Campra’s Irene and Javier Bardem’s Paco. Carla Campra excels, a performance of kin with Verginie Ledoyen’s Christine in Olivier Assayas’ 1994 feature Cold Water. And Javier Bardem gives his all in his portrayal of Paco. There’s this one scene near the end of the film, on the side of the road, where Paco watches action unfold, and suddenly it’s all too much, and he turns away. It’s a simple scene, but an entire history of hurt and half-truths is rendered by that quiet turn.

No director does arguments, family trips, guilt, betrayal, repression, grief, suspicion, trust, omissions, group dynamics, and too-late revelations like Asghar Farhadi. In Everybody Knows, Farhadi is not at his best, but that doesn’t take away from his dextrous command over these subjects. Melodrama reigns, and a fairly rote “twist” makes for decreased tension comparative to his other work, but excellent leads and Farhadi’s baseline quality make Everybody Knows a solid watch.

BBC

press

Still, with its rich story, its weighty themes, and the beautiful acting of its charismatic stars (and real-life spouses), Cruz and Bardem, it's the classiest soap opera around.

Hollywood Reporter

press

The narrative keeps hobbling from one plot strand to the other without ever really becoming a gripping maelstrom of revelations as things get progressively worse for the characters.

Los Angeles Times

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Absorbing enough but lacking in any real sense of revelation...this undeniably gifted storyteller seems firmly stuck on Cruz control.

The Guardian

press

The performances themselves are so intelligent, mature and yet uninhibited. Farhadi's storytelling has overpowering force.

Vanity Fair

press

The film is too laden with its own riches, a festival jewel that glares instead of gleams.

Variety (USA)

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Cruz may have the showier role, but the men - Bardem and Darín both - wind up baring their souls in astonishing ways.

Vulture

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The mystery becomes popcorn-chompingly compelling, each new piece of information adding shading and dimension to the true shape of the family. Nobody is above suspicion or below empathy.

NZ Herald (Toby Woollaston)

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...I found the impeccable pace of this intriguing mystery immensely satisfying.

Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)

press

The trailer and plot outline may make Everybody Knows sound like a thriller, but Farhadi has a more complex and nuanced story to tell.

Cruz and Bardem lift heavy in this Spanish Thriller

Asghar Farhadi's latest visits small-town Spain, hopping across vineyards, bell towers and dusty village back-roads. This initially captivating thriller loses steam across such a lengthy run-time. Thankfully, Cruz and Bardem steal every scene they're in making even the more languid scenes watchable. If 30 minutes had been abducted from the runtime, Everybody Knows may have been a win for everybody.