I’ve wanted to see The Invitation for a while after hearing about it from some of the podcasts I listen to. I noticed it was on Netflix and my wife and I sat and watched it after a long day of shopping. I enjoyed The Invitation quite a bit and give it the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.
Will (Logan Marshall-Green) and his girlfriend, Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi), are on their way to a dinner party hosted by Will’s ex-wife, Eden (Tammy Blanchard), and her new husband, David (Michiel Huisman). It’s a reunion of friends, but as the night progresses Will becomes increasingly suspicious of the motivation for this party.
The tension created by director Karyn Kusama is really great. I was literally on the edge of my seat at one point in the film. There are some really cool concepts brought up and the sheer awkwardness of having dinner with an ex is easy to sympathize with. As the story builds and we learn what caused the demise of their marriage and a few flashbacks help enlighten us on Will before the character really grows on you. There are few choices Will makes that is disappointing in terms of his motivations, but for the most part the film really works.
I was definitely a big fan of both Logan Marshall-Green and Michiel Huisman. However, John Carroll Lynch steals the spotlight during a monologue that is truly devastating to hear. Eden and David have become part of a religion called The Invitation. It’s slightly unclear what that has to do with the dinner. The guests are all a little off after David and Eden show a video to the them. The video explains what their new philosophy on life is all about. That’s really when Will starts to question the motivation for the gathering.
Last impressions of the film
The Invitation is really interesting and I love the way the story unfolds. There are some tragic elements as well as a pretty crazy climax. There is one aspect to the ending that I didn’t think was executed well enough. Spoilers Warning…at one point in the film we see David light a red lantern and hang it in a tree. The end of the film seems to imply that many houses in the distance also have that same lantern hanging. Yet, it’s really not easy to tell visually. There are clearly a lot of lights, but knowing if they are red isn’t clear. I could see it leaving some viewers confused to the implications that the lights mean.