Here’s a film for the tweeting, texting, sexting crowd we’ve all become part of, thanks to the insidious and ubiquitous mobile phone.
PERFECT STRANGERS is the positively ironic and glib title of a dinner party game of dare for the digitals.
The titular perfect strangers are actually seven long-time friends (three couples and one bachelor), all in their forties, who gather one night for a dinner party and agree that no private calls or messaging will disrupt their evening. Instead, in a communal fit of ‘we have nothing to hide’ bravado, they place their devices on the table, and all incoming calls and texts are shared with the group. (Letting a caller know they’re on speaker is considered a cheat).
What seems, however, seems at first like an innocent and playful distraction between friends quickly turns into something more, as the messages start to reveal some eye-opening secrets and how little they may truly know about their partners and friends.
The hosts are Rocco (Marco Giallini) and Eva (Kasia Smutniak). Rocco is a plastic surgeon, Eva, a psychiatrist who, at the moment, does not know whether or not she is in love with her husband and cannot understand her teenage daughter.
Among their guests are Bianca and Cosimo (Alba Rohrwacher and Edoardo Leo), a newly married couple. Bianca is the most recent addition to the group of friends. Cosimo is a Casanova, a real Romeo who works as a taxi driver but is a man of a thousand ideas who’d change his job every day, always certain to be able to sniff good business.
Like Rocco and Eva, Lele and Carlotta (Valerio Mastandrea and Anna Foglietta) have been a couple for years: he is an executive working in the legal department of a large private company, where he met his wife. Carlotta is a woman completely devoted to her two children. She left her job for the family. They also have a deep secret.
Finally, there is Peppe, played by Giuseppe Battiston, a gym teacher, dismissed for redundancy and currently looking for a job. On this evening, he was to introduce his new girlfriend to his friends, but at the last moment he turns up on his own because she is allegedly ill.
Once upon a time, people put their keys in a dish at soirees, in this scenario its putting their phones on the table, literally putting their cards on the table, for everyone to see each others hands.
It’s all so first world, so frightfully funny, and so frightening.
Delicious and delectable as the dishes served up, Paolo Genovese’s fulsome film dishes out meaty mysteries and sweet secrets in a savoury of the unsavoury
Going out for dinner? Best leave your cell at home. You never know what strife it might get you in.