Review: “Everybody Knows” (original title “Todos Lo Saben”)

By Liz Lopez

Rating B+

Last May, I received official word from Focus Features about the film “Everybody Knows” (“Todos Lo Saben”) coming to the United States by Focus Features. I was beyond excited, especially with the excellent cast and it is helmed by Academy-Award® winner Asghar Farhadi (“The Salesman,” “A Separation”) who wrote and directed the Spanish-language crime drama. The news of the film starring Academy-Award® winners Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem, as well as Ricardo Darín (be still my heart), stopped me in my tracks and has had me in anticipation for months. There are actually many other beautiful people in the film, and the cinematography by José Luis Alcaine (“The Skin I Live In”) is spectacular as he captures great shots of villas, vineyards, the plazas and even the plain country roads.

It is Farhadi’s script that is intriguing and hooks the viewer from the start and yet, there are so many characters in this large family that are introduced at the onset as Laura (Cruz) and her two children, Irene (Carla Campra) and Diego (Iván Chavero) arrive in Spain from Argentina for her sister’s wedding. Normally, having multiple characters is not an issue, but when the festivities go south with the rain storm, a power outage and Laura’s teen daughter disappearing, it can become difficult for the viewer to try to keep the characters straight. This may be a great strategy employed by the filmmaker, but there may be some viewers who don’t want to play Sherlock Holmes to find the clues as to who is behind the dirty deeds. I am also surprised how this screenwriter wrote some of the scenes that start to veer toward “telenovela” drama, but also wonder if his choices were influenced by others in the production.

The performances are superb. Cruz excels in her role as a distraught mother, and one many parents can understand should they find themselves in such a situation. Farhadi has written some very good lines for the two leading men, Paco (Bardem), Laura’s former childhood sweetheart/lover and Alejandro (Darín), Laura’s husband who arrives from Argentina to help locate Irene. The days after the teen disappears are very tense in the community, but after some secrets are revealed, Paco is willing to make a huge sacrifice despite the issues raised by his wife Bea (Bárbara Lennie). Alejandro has a different approach, anticipating his God will help, but to some in the community he appears indifferent. One of the truly well written and moving scenes in the film is these two men interacting about their actions, beliefs and so much more. I won’t spoil it, especially for film fans that have not yet discovered and experienced Darín’s performances in prior films, which I totally recommend.

The film stars an extensive cast including: Eduard Fernández, Inma Cuesta, Elvira Mínguez, Ramón Barea, Sara Sálamo, Roger Casamajor, and José Ángel Egido, among others. The film is produced by Alexandre Mallet-Guy of Memento Films and Álvaro Longoria of Morena Films. The film is rated R for some language and is 133 minutes long.

Focus Features will release “Everybody Knows” (“Todos Lo Saben”), on Friday, February 22nd, 2019 in Austin at the Violet Crown Cinema and Regal Arbor 8 – Great Hills. In San Antonio, it will be available at the Santikos Bijou Cinema Bistro. The film will also be available in three other cities in Texas. Find more information at https://www.everybodyknowstickets.com/

Source: Focus Features

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