Watching the Spanish acting royalty of Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem is a delight on screen. In Everybody Knows, both fill their characters with such emotion that make their heartbreak palpable. And it races through; you fail to notice that you’ve sat through a 2 hour+ film.
Laura (Cruz) returns to her small hometown village in Spain for the wedding of her sister Ana (Inma Cuesta). Laura, young son and her daughter Irene (Carla Campra) are reunited with their beloved parents, cousins and friends, including Paco (Bardem) and his wife, Bea (Barbara Lennie). There is a familiarity between Laura and Paco, but at this point, nothing more than that. The question mark over their relationship, current or otherwise, becomes emphasised by the absence of Laura’s husband, Alejandro (Ricardo Darin) at the celebration. Why isn’t he there?
On the night of the wedding, Irene adjourns to her room feeling unwell, but some time later is unable to be found. Laura enlists the help of Paco to help search and soon, the entire wedding party has joined the hunt. After receiving a text that confirms Laura’s fears that Irene has indeed been kidnapped for ransom, suspicions fall on family members themselves. Unable to involve the police, tensions flare and old family grievances are aired. Laura pleads with her husband to join her and his presence further ramps up a hostility between him and Paco; a hostility that is soon doused by Paco’s huge act of generosity to bring Irene home.
Everybody Knows does not overtly identify as a thriller; the story feels more like a family drama. Not all the story ends are neatly tied either. While the motivation for targeting Irene is identified, the plot is secondary to the family saga.
About Everybody Knows
Directed by: Asghar Farhadi
Written by: Asghar Farhadi
Stars: Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Ricardo Darin, Carla Campra, Inma Cuesta, Barbara Lennie