A hugely dysfunctional family arrives at a secluded hotel for a 60th birthday party for the family patriarch. Suffice it to say, things don't go as cheerily as hoped. A searing, uncompromising drama, The Celebration is also incredibly involving and highly entertaining, and despite the subject matter (alcoholism, incest, rape, racism, to name a few), it sidesteps heavy artiness and Jerry Springer-like wallowing. Amazing performances, incisive writing and spot-on direction combine to make this quite memorable. Under the tenets of the "Dogma '95" idea, which sets strict rules about realism in cinema and is espoused by a number of European directors, The Celebration achieves an almost unbearable, in-your-face tension -- it cuts right to the bone.
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