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‘The Trouble With Jessica’ review: welcome to the dinner party from hell

This razor-sharp satire is a brilliant watch, even if it might just put you off your food...

4.0 rating

By Anna Smith

The Trouble With Jessica cast

You know what it’s like when someone brings an unwelcome guest to a dinner party — barbed comments, boozing, dead bodies… OK, that last part is the invention of British director Matt Winn, who has co-written this darkly witty comedy lampooning middle-class, middle-aged angst.

He’s assembled a terrific cast: Shirley Henderson is wickedly brilliant as Sarah, a seemingly respectable mother who will apparently do anything to protect the upcoming sale of the home she shares with Tom (Alan Tudyk) and their family.

Their best friends are Beth (Olivia Williams) and Richard (Rufus Sewell), a couple with seemingly contrasting moral codes. The unwelcome guest is Jessica (Indira Varma), an unstable friend of Beth’s who has history with everyone in the room.

Some of the film’s tension revolves around revealing the nature of that history — the rest revolves around a group of supposedly intelligent people making terrible choices involving a dead body. While that part of the scenario may be hard to swallow, the characters and their reactions feel frighteningly, often frustratingly, real.

The Trouble with Jessica isn’t an easy watch but it’s a smart and funny one with excellent performances from a top British cast.