7 friends out to watch an eclipse decide to play a game: Everyone’s phone messages are now public property. Stuff ensues.
Seven friends (Played by Bérénice Bejo, Suzanne Clément, Stéphane De Groodt, Vincent Elbaz, Grégory Gadebois, Doria Tillier, and Roschdy Zem), most of whom have known each other for roughly thirty years, are coming together to have a dinner before they see a lunar eclipse. During the evening, they decide to play a game: Everyone has to put their phones face-up on the table and answer every call and message publicly. While it starts off innocent and light, as the evening progresses darker and darker secrets come to light.
There’s an interesting background to this movie. It’s a remake of a 2016 Italian film called Perfetti Sconosciuti/Perfect Strangers, which has since been remade in at least 6 languages. In only 2 years. That’s an insane pace to re-shoot a movie and distribute it, and at least two of the remakes are apparently almost shot-for-shot. I think the reason why it’s propagated so quickly is that the film’s central point is so common in the modern world: A lot of our behavior online is predicated on the fact that nobody can tie it to us.
This movie is kind of a rarity nowadays. Almost all of the action is in one room and it consists almost exclusively of people talking about the mundane. Sure, there are scenes that play out about some absurd message and its implications, but many of them are resolved quickly and the evening just continues. Actually, the oddest thing about the characters is how well they handle some of the revelations and keep the dinner going, something that I explained to myself solely by reasoning that they’re French. Is that culturally insensitive and overly stereotypical? Yep. I never said that I was a good person.
Since there are really only 7 characters, we get to know them really well, inside and out. We find out about their histories, their jobs, their fears, their ambitions… mostly because we’re able to see all of the stuff that they normally wouldn’t let anyone find out. That’s really the thing that you’re getting out of the movie, you’re watching a mostly humorous version of one of the greatest fears in the modern world: Complete transparency.
Everyone has secrets, which has been true as long as there have been people, but now we also have a tiny device on hand that keeps all of them. We should always behave in a way that it wouldn’t matter much if our phones got out, but let’s be honest: There’s some stuff on your phone or computer that you would die before letting out into the public. Pornography preferences, embarrassing hobbies, affairs, stupid things you’ve thought about but never posted… there’s an entire world of horrors in your phone. As we see the evening play out in this film, we see those horrors unleashed, but we also see them work out in a multitude of other ways. Some secrets, it turns out, don’t matter much. Some actually improve relationships when they’re revealed. One of the most interesting parts of the film is finding out which ones are which. Also, the ending is great. It takes a second for you to realize what’s happened, but I really appreciated how it resolved the movie.
Overall, I thought this was a solid film and it was worth the watch. I’d recommend you give it a try.
If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time, Collection of TV Episodes, Collection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.
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