Perfect Strangers is a light-hearted crowd-pleaser that had the preview audience in stitches – a perfect opener for the 2016 Perth Lavazza Italian Film Festival.
Good premise, this. A group of long-term friends at a dinner party celebrating a full lunar eclipse decide to spice up their evening by throwing their mobile phones into the centre of the table and sharing the content of every text message, email and phone call they receive. Not all members of the party are comfortable with the idea, and for good reason as it turns out. As their private communications are revealed throughout the evening and the layers of their hidden selves peel away, it becomes apparent that they don’t know each other at all.
Perfect Strangers has much in common with the hilarious 2012 French/Belgian drawing room comedy Le Prénom (probably the funniest film I’ve seen). Both feature excellent, naturalistic performances. Both are theatrical in style, contained to one main setting, with the “action” taking place through fast-paced, sparkling dialogue. Both start with a group of friends going way back engaged in easy familiar banter, and gradually lay bare the secrets that lie beneath. And in both films the laughs come thick and fast for the first two-thirds, before the secrets revealed get too serious to sustain the humour at full pelt.
Perfect Strangers exhausts its premise and runs out of puff before the finish line, but it’s still an entertaining and fun ride for the most part, and a lively start to the 2016 Lavazza Italian Film Festival. Seems the word has spread – the opening night and several screenings of Perfect Strangers have sold out!
However, there’s plenty of good films on offer, so check out the program. Note: The Festival wraps up with the wonderful Oscar-winning Hollywood classic Roman Holiday – surely one of the most delightful romances ever made, featuring Sophia Loren at her most beguiling. That should come up a treat on the big screen.
The Festival highlights and program can be found on the Luna-Palace website.
Movie website: http://www.italianfilmfestival.com.au/films/perfect-strangers
Australian release date: 22 Sept 2016 (@ Cinema Paradiso and Luna on SX, Perth)
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