A better title for this film would have been Nobody Knows and Most Audience Members Won’t Care.
The thing that made Everybody Knows so disappointing was the fact that it was directed by the accomplished Asghar Farhadi and stars Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem. As artistically talented as these three individuals are, this film drags on (2 hours and 13 minutes) to an ending that made little sense and had less meaning.
In summary, Ms. Cruz plays Laura, the mother of two children who travels from her home in Argentina to attend a family wedding in Spain. Things go tragically wrong quite quickly when her oldest daughter is kidnapped during the wedding reception. The chaos worsens when a text is received from the kidnappers demanding an extraordinary sum of money quickly or they will kill her.
It is an interesting premise that quickly unravels in a fashion that defies common sense. While Laura’s husband was unable leave Argentina, suspicion mounts as nearly every extended family member becomes a suspect. It seems that Laura’s family is suffering financial problems after selling their large olive grove and winery years earlier to Paco (Javier Bardem), Laura’s ex-lover.
As I noted in my rating, the title of this film is extraordinarily misleading given the sad fact that no one had the slightest idea who was involved in the kidnapping. In exploring complicated family relationships, the film falls flat on its face, leaving you so bored that you really didn’t care who kidnapped this teenage girl.
While both Cruz and Bardem travel through most of the film in slow motion, the best performances come from Carla Campra as Irene, Laura’s daughter, and Bárbara Lennie as Bea, Bardem’s girlfriend who is dedicated to their olive fields. Campra’s Irene is a teenage girl who loves the thrills flowing from being an attractive teenage girl. Though Lennie’s Bea wants to do all that she can to help Paco, it becomes increasingly difficult given that his past relationship with Laura had damning consequences.
While I won’t dare give away the ending of the movie, it really doesn’t matter. The film does little more than reinforce the old saying that bad things happen to good people. I think most of the people in the audience thought that applied to them as they shook their head in disgust over wasting time and money on this lamentable film.