By Megan Bianco
As winter recedes, we are starting to get not only sunnier weather, but also more interesting movie releases. Asghar Farhadi’s Everybody Knows stars the A-list celebrity couple Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem, who have become Spain’s answer to Brangelina.
It isn’t just how good looking and glamorous they are — though Penelope could give Angelina a run for her money — or the fact they are still very much together. Rather, it’s that they are the biggest names in their home country and have the good movie projects to back up their hype. Everybody Knows is now their fifth film together, and after past critical hits like Jamón, Jamón (1992) and Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), the latest production shows they haven’t lost any of their talented chops.
In the small town of Torrelaguna, north of Madrid, Laura (Cruz) and her two children visit her hometown for her sister Ana’s (Inma Cuesta) wedding. Also in attendance for the marital event are Laura and Ana’s childhood friend Paco (Bardem), who was also Laura’s first love. Throughout the day, we see Laura’s teenage daughter Irene (Carla Campra) act rebellious to the point where she disappears at the end of the wedding.
The next day the family gets anonymous texts that Irene has been kidnapped and is being held for a ransom. Very soon secrets are revealed between Laura’s family, Paco, and Laura’s husband Alejandro (Ricardo Darín). Along with Paco’s wife Mariana (Elvira Mínguez), they all become involved in the search for Irene.
Everybody Knows has a lot of quality talent behind it. Writer-director Farhadi builds on the success of A Separation (2011) with his second European production after The Past (2013). Cruz and Bardem are always a treat together, and are no different here—especially Cruz in her scenes alone where she panics and grieves for her daughter’s safety.
But the actual script is a little basic with the usual twists and turns the characters have to go through to get the kidnapped child back. We’ve seen this story before, even recently with All the Money in the World (2017) and Trust (2018). It’s just that this time the family isn’t rich Americans.
If you’re a fan of Cruz and Bardem, check it out. But if you’re a fan of Farhadi, you might be a bit underwhelmed.
Megan Bianco is a Southern California-based movie reviewer and content writer with a degree from California State University Northridge.
>> Subscribe to Times of San Diego’s free daily email newsletter! Click hereFollow Us: