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Peter's Friends

  R HD

Kenneth Branagh

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Plot Summary

This comedy drama, a sort of British version of The Big Chill (1983), was directed by Kenneth Branagh. Ten years after they were members of a music and comedy troupe at Cambridge University, a diverse group of friends in their early 30s gather at the expansive estate of Peter Morton (Stephen Fry), who's invited them there for a reunion. Among the guests are Andrew (Branagh), who has married Carol (Rita Rudner), the star of the American situation comedy he writes; lonely Maggie (Emma Thompson), who thinks she may be in love with Peter; Roger (Hugh Laurie) and Mary (Imelda Staunton), a couple in advertising who have lost a child; and single Sarah (Alphonsia Emmanuel), who's always attracted to the wrong men, including her latest boyfriend, the married Brian (Tony Slattery). Also on hand is Vera (Phyllida Law, the real-life mother of Thompson), a housekeeper who has protectively watched over Peter since childhood. Over the course of the weekend, various jealousies and fears are revealed between joyous feasts, but a startling, tragic announcement from Peter puts everyone's petty dramas into proper perspective. American stand-up comedienne Rudner wrote the screenplay with her husband, (Martin Bergmann).

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 31
  • Fresh: 22
  • Rotten: 9
  • Average Rating: 6.3/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: Although it addresses AIDS more directly than many films have, it remains a lightweight entertainment, enjoyable mostly for the fun of hearing arch, skillful actors deliver droll remarks. – Janet Maslin, New York Times, Jan 9, 2014

Rotten: Peter's Friends won't win over anyone looking for depth - as drama, it's pure popcorn - but the vignettes are swept along by Branagh's richly theatrical temperament and by the exuberant wit of the cast. – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly, Jan 9, 2014

Fresh: With a smattering of one-liners, and a dash of ironic spirit, "Peter's Friends" is a diverting, if modest affair. – Desson Thomson, Washington Post, Jan 9, 2014

Fresh: If film is basically a voyeuristric medium, then one of the questions that might be asked about "Peter's Friends" is: Would we like to be one of these friends, and attend such a reunion ourselves? I would. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, Jan 9, 2014

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Branagh’s Revenge on Laurie

The only entertaining thing about this movie is watching how director Branagh consistently sabotages all the scenes featuring his real-life then-wife’s (Emma Thompson) former boyfriend, Hugh Laurie (“House”). In Laurie’s big monologue near the end, Branagh actually circles the camera to put a Christmas tree between it and poor ol’ Hugh! It makes for a great drinking game: have a shot every time the camera cuts away from Laurie!