When it comes to the current state of the political discourse across the world Emily Mortimer has some rather curt and forthright opinions that can best be summed up with the following: “We’re all just absurd.”
Things have become so bad that Mortimer, who sounds about as English as they come but now calls the United States home, has long become terrified of talking about politics.
Thankfully she was able to find solace in “The Party,” Sally Potter’s new dark comedy that revolves around a group of friends coming together one evening to celebrate the political ascent of Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas). What unfolds is a wicked and witty satire on the way that people have such discussions today.
“It feels a bit like a medicine for the modern age,” insists Mortimer. “Because it is a satire on these people that have these firmly held political beliefs.”
“I love that she satirizes these characters, and that is particularly timely because nowadays everyone is so sure of what they think. And that feels quite scary to me. It scares me that everyone is so sure they’re right.”
“Between social media and what is happening politically, everyone has got such a firmly held opinion. The minute that everyone feels that they are right, and they know what’s right, that can be really scary. Our politics shouldn’t be taken so seriously.”
Of course, Mortimer thinks that politics is still “incredibly important and vital,” but she also believes that people need to be a lot more “humble” with their views because “there isn’t one truth.” That’s exactly why she is so proud of “The Party.”
“I think it says that politics is subjective and we are all as ridiculous as each other and we are all absurd and we are all going to die.”
“My dad always used to talk about domino opinions,” Mortimer continues. “That thing of, ‘When you know one thing about somebody you know everything.’ If you know that they are anti-gun control or pro-choice you know what they feel about every issue.”
“It feels like people have lined themselves up in a militant way. There’s no room for nuance or a grey area, and for a sense of humor. I feel like ‘The Party’ is an antidote to that.”
It also helped that Mortimer is such a huge fan of writer and director Sally Potter, too, whose past work has included “The Gold Diggers,” “Orlando,” “The Tango Lesson,” “The Man Who Cried,” and “Yes,” each of which have claimed numerous awards.
Mortimer sees Potter as a cinematic “radical,” and she adored just being a part of her “irreverent,” “cheeky” and “hysterical questioning” of the world today.
“There aren’t a lot of people like her around. She feels like such a byproduct of her time, of left-wing politics in East London, and she was at the vanguard of all that. It’s just cool being around her.”
But one thing Mortimer loves even more than that is “The Party’s” terse running time, which allows the film to unfold like a brisk slap in the face.
“Every film is like two and a half hours nowadays. It is a f—–g nightmare. 70 minutes? I am in. It meant I loved the film immediately.”
You can see if you feel the same way when “The Party” is released in New York and Los Angeles on February 16.