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‘The Party’s Just Beginning’ Review: Loss and Love in Inverness

Category: Art & Culture,Arts

The last time I saw Karen Gillan on a movie screen, in the blockbuster “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” she was playing a human incarnation of a video game character who was both bombshell and martial arts master. She also kicks up a storm in the opening minutes of “The Party’s Just Beginning,” albeit in a much more glum context. Freestyle-monologuing in a pub on what seems to be karaoke night, she energetically advertises herself as a potential cult leader while fellow drinkers profanely heckle her.

The movie takes place in Inverness, Scotland, and Gillan, who hails from there herself, is also the writer/director here; this is her first feature in those roles. After her defiant microphone moment, Gillan’s character, Liusaidh (pronounced “Lucy”), picks up a bloke, has a quick round of sex, goes to the chip shop, stuffs her face with its product, then walks the back roads of her neighborhood until she meets Alistair (Matthew Beard), her best friend. “Meets” is the wrong word, we soon understand; she sees him, but he is dead, a suicide, and she’s haunted by his loss.

Liusaidh has other woes, too, and she lays them out, piecemeal, to a temporary lover, an older fellow from England played by Lee Pace, but most honestly to an initially crabby elderly man who had first called her home mistakenly, misdialing the number to an emotional crisis help line.

Gillan plays her messy, mournful role with unfussy integrity. The movie does not stray beyond the borders of the modest character study, but within those parameters, it’s accomplished and impressively straightforward.


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