Everybody Knows

Image of Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem in 2018 film 'Everybody Knows'

Mystery is afoot in Asghar Farhadi’s Spanish thriller, Todos lo saben, or Everybody Knows [2018] set in the confines a European village where a wedding is to take place. Laura (Penelope Cruz) brings her young son and teenage daughter to attend her sister’s marriage ceremony, meeting up with family members and an old flame (Javier Bardem) whom she has not seen for years. Deep into the night as the party continues, Laura’s daughter goes missing and she starts to receive ransom text messages asking for money in exchange for her return. Laura comes to find, however, that those closest to her may be hiding secrets that could lead to the whereabouts of her daughter.

All in the Family: The familial relationships that are showcased in Everybody Knows drive the mysterious circumstances of the film, where those closest to you could also be the end of you. While the idea of this thriller looks intriguing on paper, there are moments where the momentum of the plot slows down, causing certain scenes to drag on with boredom-inducing pacing. What could be resolved in a little over 60 minutes is expanded to two hours of irrelevant exchanges and counterproductive actions by the characters. Real-life couple Bardem and Cruz do have chemistry onscreen as they play former lovers, and that helps add an air of authenticity to the narrative.

Loose Lips Sink Ships: The scenic atmosphere of Everybody Knows teleports viewers to a romantic cobblestone village in the heart of the Spanish countryside, with towering Cathedrals and homey casitas perfect for afternoon siestas. Interestingly enough, there is still a feeling of claustrophobic isolation that takes place in the home where the kidnapping occurs, pinning close relatives against one another during a time that is meant for celebration instead of dread. Not only is the land foreign to the visiting Laura, but also the people she once thought she could trust.

Everybody Knows plays like a cinematic telenovela with beautiful people and faces but stretches out its threadbare mystery plot much longer than it should be.