It’s 1977 – the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, and schoolboys Enn (Alex Sharp), John (Ethan Lawrence) and Vic (AJ Lewis) stumble upon the weirdest party, which looks like an S&M nightmare crossed with half-a-dozen of each and every illegal tablet you’ve ever heard of in your life.
In fact, I think anyone involved in this would have to have taken all those just to say yes to participating in this, and those include Ruth Wilson (Luther, The Affair), Matt Lucas (Little Britain), Joanna Scanlan (The Thick Of It) and Tom Brooke, who’s best known just recently from BBC1’s Bodyguard as the scarred-faced war veteran friend of the lead male. Oh, and there’s Wainswain (Lara Peake), a young woman with too many fingers…
The ‘alien woman meets Earthling man’ concept reminds me of Splash, and there are some elements in this which remind me of Society. It doesn’t reach the heights of either of those – and goes for CGI in the latter case instead of practical effects, but it is a fascinating movie and, more often than not, does slightly make sense.
How to Talk to Girls at Parties is one of those films where it’s a hell of a mess, but sometimes, you throw enough stuff at the wall and it all sticks… or at least, some of it does, and it’s enough to keep you watching for the entire movie.
The film is presented in the theatrical 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio and in 1080p high definition and it looks as crisp and clear as you’d expect from a modern movie, with the aliens’ colourful parties standing out particularly.
The sound is in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, and it’s the great ’70s music which really stands out amongst everything else, such as Planned Adolescence by The Dyschords, and Extraction by Dyslexic Cnuts.
The extras are as follows:
- Deleted Scene (0:54): Blink and you’ll miss it, this is less than a minute as the lads break into the club at the start. It’s not necessary to be in the film, but it’s nice to see it included here. However, surely there’d be more than just one scene cut out from any film??
- Cast Interviews: These are Q&As with the “Q” as a caption and the “A” with the person featured talking to someone off-camera. Basically, it’s the sort puff piece the likes of BBC Breakfast can slot into their own features when a film’s being released.
It’s interesting that every single “Q” is split up with an individual chapter, when Studiocanal couldn’t be bothered to chapter the film properly.
Anyhoo, those included are: Nicole Kidman (1:39), Elle Fanning (4:13), Alex Sharp (3:50), AJ Lewis (4:07), Ethan Lawrence (2:38), Matt Lucas (3:09) and Martin Tomlinson (1:51).
- Crew Interviews: The same again, but with John Cameron Mitchell (9:34), Neil Gaiman (8:30), Iain Canning (3:34), Howard Gertler (3:37), Sandy Powell (1:54) and Helen Scott (2:43).
The main menu features clips from the film, but… it’s silent. That’s really weird. I don’t know if that’s because the audio wasn’t added to the review disc I was sent, but don’t be surprised if that’s the case for the finished version, too. Subtitles are in English only and there’s the bog-standard 12 chapters, although I go by the rule of thumb of one every five minutes, so that would make 20-21 by my book.
Running time: 102 minutes
Released: September 3rd 2018
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS 5.1 HD-MA
Disc Format: BD50
Director: John Cameron Mitchell
Producers: Iain Canning, Howard Gertler, John Cameron Mitchell and Emile Sherman
Screenplay: Philippa Goslett and John Cameron Mitchell Short story: Neil Gaiman
Music: Nico Muhly and Jamie Stewart
Enn: Alex Sharp
Zan: Elle Fanning
PT Stella: Ruth Wilson
Boadicea: Nicole Kidman
John: Ethan Lawrence
Vic: AJ Lewis
Dark Stella: Elarica Gallacher
Jerry, The Record Exec: Stephen Campbell Moore
Savage Sue: Eloise Smyth
PT Wain: Matt Lucas
Marion, Enn’s mum: Joanna Scanlan
PT Waldo: Tom Brooke
PT Bob: Joey Ansah
Spinning Jenny: Alice Sanders
Wainswain: Lara Peake
Ari Up: Hebe Beardsall
PT First: Edward Petherbridge
DJ Des: Jumayn Hunter
Kiara: Renah Gallagher
Chip shop guy: Simon Amstell (uncredited)
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.