DRAMA; 1hr 20min

STARRING: Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, John C. Reilly

Four’s a crowd: from left, Foster, Reilly, Waltz and Winslet

When their 11-year-old sons have a playground stoush and one loses two teeth, the wealthy parents get together to sort matters out in director Roman Polanski’s incisive movie of Yasmina Reza’s play. Sometime writer Penelope Longstreet (Foster), whose son was attacked and whose plush Manhattan apartment is the scene of the meeting, is tense to seething. The mother of the guilty party, investment banker Nancy Cowan (Winslet), is on edge and embarrassed. Her husband, work-wired attorney Alan (Waltz), is stressing over a case, while Penelope’s genial husband, home-supplies salesman Michael, is unsuccessfully attempting to smooth matters with his wife’s pear-and-apple cobbler. If one thing is certain, it’s that the already tense situation will worsen.


When the cracks splinter into fissures, it’s with a voluble precision that sees each of the foursome flawlessly hitting their marks. To watch them go at it as alliances shift and change is to question basic relationship truths. Scratch the polite surface of any connection, Reza’s zippy, castigating adaptation is saying, and watch out for the snake pit lurking beneath.