A Private Function (1985)
A British couple's attempts to circumvent local food-rationing regulations trigger a chaotic series of events in this satirical comedy set in post-World War II England. The couple's scheme centers on a massive hog which has been illegally raised by a local farmer. Seeing a chance to capitalize on pork's scarcity, the ambitious Joyce Chilvers (Maggie Smith) convinces her mild-mannered husband (Michael Palin) to steal the pig. Unfortunately for the Chilverses, a vigilant food inspector is on duty and determined to stop all such illegal activity. The couple's efforts to hide the pig provide much material for frantic and sometimes grotesque farce. Playwright Alan Bennett's acerbic targets the British class system and the wife's social ambitions. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi … More
as Gilbert Chilvers
as Joyce Chilvers
as Dr. Charles Swaby
as Henry Allardyce
as Frank Lockwood
as Maurice Wormold
as Bernard Sutcliffe
as Mrs. Allardyce
as Inspector Noble
as Mrs. Sutcliff
as Mrs. Forbes
as P.C. Penny
as Mrs. Medcalf
as Hotel Manager
as Mrs. Turnbull
as Painter's Boy
as Mrs. Beavers
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Critic Reviews for A Private Function
Entertains, but never dazzles or impresses us with its script, performances, or even production design.
Audience Reviews for A Private Function
A woman with social climbing aspirations compels her husband to steal a pig from rich people despite the town's food rationing program.
This film is chuckle-funny, scattering a few witty moments. The supporting players, especially Richard Griffiths and the great Maggie Smith, are most responsible for the film's good scenes while Michael Palin doesn't do anything extraordinary to create a discernible character, quite unlike his Python work.
Thematically, it's hard to tell what this film is satirizing. It's clear that class is at issue; the upper class characters act ridiculously, and Joyce's societal aspirations seem senseless as a result. But what is going on with the socialist food rationing? Is the film satirizing socialism? The answers to these questions aren't entirely clear.
Overall, good for a few yuks, A Private Function isn't a bad film, but it's ultimately disappointing considering the overwhelming talent of its stars.
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